November 7, 2016
By Philip Wen
Together with other hometown investors, Mr Tian owns a share of the former Equity Chambers building on Melbourne's Bourke Street. Purchased for $15 million in 2013, the site is being redeveloped into residential apartments. It currently houses the Hubei Association of Melbourne and the Australian Hubei Chamber of Commerce, led by Mike Yang, a young and well-connected Labor Party operative who advises the Andrews government on multicultural affairs.
Mr Yang, who was also born in Wuhan, is known to be close to Tian Di. He is also close to Senator Sam Dastyari, who was demoted from the opposition front bench after accepting payment for legal and travel costs from prominent Chinese political donors, before contradicting his party's stance on the South China Sea dispute in a press conference organised for local Chinese-language media by donor Huang Xiangmo.
Both Mr Yang and Senator Dastyari attended the wedding of Mr Huang's daughter in January, along with former trade minister Andrew Robb, opposition leader Bill Shorten and other politicians including Chris Bowen and Ernest Wong. Mr Yang declined to comment.
Chinese police are expected to formally lay charges on those in detention within the next three weeks. The charges are expected to relate to the promotion and organisation of gambling activities, though the crackdown has also come amid a broader anti-corruption blitz targeting money laundering and illicit money transfers offshore.
As previously revealed by Fairfax Media, communications documenting the movement of millions of dollars are also in the hands of mainland authorities following the police seizure of computers, laptops and mobile phones belonging to Crown Resorts' 18 detained employees.