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Biden Blocks China-Backed Crypto Mining Company From Land Ownership Near Wyoming Missile Base

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Monday issued an order banning a Chinese-backed cryptocurrency mining company from owning land near a nuclear missile base in Wyoming, calling the base’s proximity a “national security risk.”

The order forces the divestiture of properties operated as a crypto mining facility near the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base. MineOne Partners Ltd., a company backed in part by Chinese nationals, and its subsidiaries are also required to remove certain equipment from the site.

This comes as the U.S. will impose major new tariffs on Tuesday on electric vehicles, semiconductors, solar equipment and medical supplies imported from China, according to a U.S. official and another person familiar with the plan.

And with the election season in full swing, both Biden and his presumptive Republican challenger, former President Donald Trump, have told voters they will crack down on China, the world’s second-largest economy after the United States and an emerging geopolitical rival.

Monday’s divestment order was issued in coordination with the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States — a little-known but powerful government committee charged with scrutinizing corporate deals over national security concerns and with the power to force companies to change ownership structures or divest completely. from the US

A 2018 law granted CFIUS the authority to review real estate transactions near sensitive locations in the US, including FE Warren Air Force Base.

MineOne purchased the land within a mile of the Air Force Base in Cheyenne in 2022, and according to CFIUS, the purchase was only reported to the committee as required after the panel received a public tip.

The order was vague about specific national security concerns, with the Treasury Department saying only that there were issues with “specialized and foreign equipment that could potentially facilitate surveillance and espionage activities” that “posed a significant risk to national security .”

A company representative did not respond to an Associated Press request for comment.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who chairs CFIUS, said the committee’s role is “to ensure that foreign investments do not undermine our national security, especially when they involve transactions that pose a risk to sensitive U.S. military installations and that involving specialized equipment and technologies.”

The committee includes members from the Departments of State, Justice, Energy and Commerce and examines the national security risks of foreign investments in U.S. companies.

CFIUS ordered that the property be sold within 120 days, and that the company remove all structures and equipment on the property within 90 days.