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Chinese businessman should remain in jail, court rules

A federal appeals court on Monday ruled that a Chinese businessman should remain jailed while he awaits trial on charges of using forced labor to work on a Long Island mansion and other properties.

Dan Zhong, the nephew of politically connected Chinese billionaire Wang Wenliang, appealed his detention by claiming he wasn’t a flight risk and his presence in the U.S. could be assured by hiring a private security firm to guard him at his home in Livingston, New Jersey.

But a Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel, in a brief order, upheld the ruling of Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson, who detained Zhong last fall after prosecutors said his wealth and access to Chinese diplomatic facilities made him a risk.

Zhong, 46, was accused last year of illegally using “debt bondage” contracts to make construction workers who were brought to the United States to work on China’s diplomatic offices also do work on private properties. Those properties include a $10 million mansion in Old Brookville, owned by a Chinese businessman.

Zhong’s billionaire uncle has faced scrutiny over donations he channeled to the Clinton Foundation and to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

No trial date has been set. A lawyer for Zhong declined to comment on the ruling.

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