The abrupt dismissal of White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci less than two weeks after his appointment may be linked to the outspoken financier's China dealings.
The firing has been widely attributed to Scaramucci's verbal tirade to a reporter in addition to orders from new chief of staff John F. Kelly. But there's a third issue that may have played into the decision, Jim Rickards, editor of investment newsletter Strategic Intelligence, told CNBC.
The sale of Scaramucci's hedge fund, SkyBridge Capital, to HNA Capital, a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, was a red flag for Washington, according to Rickards.
The acquisition, which was finalized in January and reportedly values SkyBridge at around $200 million, is currently pending approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States — or CFIUS — a government panel that reviews foreign purchases of American companies for national security risks.
Officially chaired by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, CFIUS involves multiple U.S. agencies, including the defense, commerce and state departments.
Rickards, who previously worked with intelligence officials on CFIUS regarding foreign acquisitions of U.S. financial services firms, said he believes the Skybridge deal was "a sleeper story waiting to come back to haunt the White House."
HNA's purchase is likely to get rejected amid concerns of Chinese control over U.S. hedge funds and investment banks — a decision that wouldn't bode well for President Donald Trump's administration, he said.