Bob Pickard, a Canadian communications consultant who recently quit his position at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), says his personal secretary spied on him on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Mr. Pickard became AIIB director general of communications in the spring of 2022 and left the role in June. Initially, he believed there were misunderstandings about the Beijing-led investment bank. However, his own experience at work confirmed suspicions the bank was manipulated by the authorities to further Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions.
Mr. Pickard was surprised to discover his assigned personal assistant at the bank was a member of the Chinese Communist Party. This assistant had been secretly spying on him and his department and reporting to another CCP member in the office of the bank’s president, Jin Liqun, the Globe reported.
Upon joining the bank, Mr. Pickard said he was advised by his senior colleagues to exercise caution around CCP members. He was instructed to be mindful of his speech in their presence and to avoid conflicts, given their influence within the bank held more weight than that of other individuals.
Hours after Mr. Pickard declared his exit from AIIB, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland announced that Ottawa was suspending its relationship with the institution while the government investigates the "serious concerns" Mr. Pickard raised.
"China, as the world’s second largest economy, must necessarily play a role in addressing common global challenges," Ms. Freeland said in a statement released June 14. "However, as the world’s democracies work to de-risk our economies by limiting our strategic vulnerabilities to authoritarian regimes, we must likewise be clear about the means through which these regimes exercise their influence around the world."