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Wednesday 12 June, 2024
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Guo Wengui Exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui arrested

BY Anas Shah Mar 15, 2023. 08:56 pm UPDATED: Mar 15, 2023. 08:56 pm

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The FBI arrested an exiled Chinese billionaire with ties to Steve Bannon in New York on suspicion of masterminding a $1 billion fraud and then blowing the money on a yacht, mansion, and other extravagant luxuries.

Guo Wengui was arrested by agents on Wednesday morning in connection with an elaborate scheme to defraud his legion of online followers via sham investments. He is set to appear in court today.

The money was spent on a 50,000-square-foot mansion in New Jersey, a Lamborghini supercar, and a luxury yacht worth approximately $37 million by the business magnate, who also goes by a variety of aliases.

He also spent $978,000 on Chinese and Persian rugs, a $62,000 television, and a $53,000 fireplace log cradle holder.

On Wednesday, prosecutors revealed details about the elaborate fraud, as well as extraordinary details about the luxuries purchased by Guo. Guo is charged alongside his financial advisor William Je, a Hong Kong and United Kingdom dual citizen who served as the fraud’s ‘financial architect and key money launderer’.

Investigators also seized $634 million from 21 different bank accounts, according to the US attorney’s office.

According to US Attorney Damian Williams, ‘Ho Wan Kwok, also known as ‘Miles Guo,’ led a complex conspiracy to defraud thousands of his online followers out of more than $1 billion dollars.

‘Kwok is accused of lining his pockets with the money he stole, including purchasing a 50,000 square foot mansion for himself and his close relatives, a $3.5 million Ferrari, and even two $36,000 mattresses, as well as financing a $37 million luxury yacht.’

Guo is close to Bannon, the right-wing firebrand who helped Donald Trump secure victory in the 2016 presidential election and then served as White House chief strategist.

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Bannon was arrested in August 2020 on Guo’s 152-foot yacht Lady May on fraud charges related to the We Build the Wall fundraising campaign for a wall between the United States and Mexico.

The SEC also charged Guo and Je today with’multiple offering frauds’ that targeted retail investors online and through social media.

‘Since or about April 2020, Guo has conducted fraudulent securities offerings, raising at least hundreds of millions of dollars from investors in the United States and around the world,’ according to the SEC case.

‘Unbeknownst to those investors, Guo and his financial adviser, Je, misappropriated a significant portion of the funds raised from certain of the Subject Offerings to enrich themselves and their family.’

Guo amassed billions of dollars through business ventures in China before fleeing to the United States in 2014 to avoid arrest on charges of bribery, kidnapping, money laundering, fraud, and rape.

In February of last year, he declared bankruptcy in the United States, claiming that his assets had dwindled to less than $100,000.

Guo teamed up with Bannon in 2018 to stage a phoney coup against China’s communist government. They staged a stunt in which an anti-CCP banner was flown over the Statue of Liberty.

Guo also spilled his blood on a document pledging to destabilise Chinese President Xi Jinping’s party.

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