Chinese Billionaire Arrested And Charged Over Alleged Fraud Conspiracy That Made Investors Over $1 Billion | CNN Politics


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Chinese billionaire and proclaimed dissident Guo Wengui was arrested Wednesday and charged with defrauding thousands of followers out of more than $1 billion through complex investment schemes, US prosecutors announced on Wednesday.

Guo, a staunch critic of the Chinese government who lives in exile in Manhattan and is close to former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon, was taken into custody in New York on Wednesday morning. He is accused of defrauding or misappropriating investor money using various schemes, including his media company GTV Media Group, an agricultural loan program through Himalaya Farm Alliance, and a cryptocurrency called Himalaya Coin.

Guo is also known as Ho Wan Kwok and Miles Guo.

Prosecutors said that instead of using the money in the way he promised potential investors, Guo sent the funds to invest in a hedge fund to benefit GTV and a family member, to cover maintenance payments for his $37 million, 145-foot luxury yacht, a New Jersey mansion and a custom Bugatti sports car valued at $4.4 million. Prosecutors said in a letter to the judge they are demanding his arrest, arguing that he poses a serious risk of flight.

CNN has reached out to Guo’s attorney for comment.

Guo co-founded two nonprofit organizations, the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Society, which prosecutors allege attracted supporters who believed in many of his ideas.

Those nonprofits were linked to a group promoting the theory that the novel coronavirus was likely developed in a Chinese lab. The Rule of Law Organizations were co-founded by Guo and Bannon.

Bannon has not been charged in this case.

Bannon was arrested on Guo’s yacht in 2020 on unrelated fraud charges stemming from a border wall fundraiser. Bannon was pardoned by Trump but charged on similar state charges. Bannon has pleaded not guilty.

50,000-square-foot mansion in New Jersey owned by Guo Wengui, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Prosecutors said they seized $634 million from 21 bank accounts and a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster.

In addition to criminal charges of conspiracy, banking fraud, securities fraud, international money laundering and obstruction of justice, Guo was also charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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