DOJ charges Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, associate of Steve Bannon, in $1 billion fraud

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  • Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui was arrested in New York on charges of conspiracy to defraud more than $1 billion by the Justice Department.
  • Guo, also known as Miles Kwok, is an aide to former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a related civil complaint against Guo and his co-defendant, financial advisor William Jay, in the criminal case.
  • Bannon, working with Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, “arranged for Guo and his followers to spread pornographic videos and photos” from the laptop of Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, a magazine has reported.

Controversial exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui – an aide to former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon – was arrested in New York on Wednesday for allegedly orchestrating a $1 billion scam. fraud scheme It duped online followers with the promise of huge investment returns.

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Guo Some of the money raised through his company GTV Media and other entities is reportedly used to buy a 50,000-square-foot New Jersey mansion, a $37 million yacht, a $3.5 million Ferrari for his son, a $140,000 Bosendorfer piano and two Heusten 2000T mattresses was done for. A whopping $36,000 each.

Prosecutors seized more than $650 million in alleged fraud proceeds from 21 different bank accounts and properties, which included a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ roadster automobile, as part of the case against Guo and his financial advisor, William J. Manhattan Federal Court,

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Guo, 52, pleaded not guilty in Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon. He postponed the bail application till his lawyers return out of town. A public defender handling Guo’s hearing did not comment.

The fire broke out on Wednesday during a search of Guo’s Manhattan penthouse apartment by FBI agents, an agency spokesman said. Agents noticed smoke coming from a light fixture and called 911 around noon ET.

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The New York Fire Department extinguished the blaze, the cause of which is being investigated by the Bomb Squad. Guo was in custody before the fire.

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Securities and Exchange Commission filed a separate related civil complaint Guo and against Jie, 56, a resident of the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, who lives at large. The SEC accused Guo and Jie of engaging in unregistered and fraudulent financial offerings.

The SEC separately accused Guo of misrepresentation in raising hundreds of millions of dollars from investors through a cryptocurrency asset known as H-Coin.

Last September, three companies linked to Guo, including GTV Media, agreed to pay about $540 million to settle civil charges. seconds making illegal offerings of stocks and digital assets,

Guo, known by several different names, including Miles Guo and Miles Kwok, Brother Seven and The Principal, has lived in the United States since 2015 after reportedly fleeing China to escape corruption charges. have been

In 2018, he founded two non-profit organizations, the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Society, engaged in a public relations campaign against the Chinese Communist Party.

Guo “used non-profit organizations to gather followers who were aligned with his stated policy objectives in China and who were willing to believe [Guo’s] Statements about investment and money-making opportunities,” the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in a statement on the criminal case.

Bannon, who served as a senior White House adviser to former President Donald Trump for less than a year, was at one point on the board of directors of the Law Society’s Rule of Law.

In June 2021, two of Guo’s nonprofits hosted a private party in New York, attended by Bannon, former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Trump aide and conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow. Were.

In August 2020, federal authorities arrested Bannon on a mega-yacht belonging to Goo off the coast of Connecticut on charges related to laundering money for the “We Build the Wall” fundraising campaign. Months later, shortly before Trump left office, he pardoned Bannon in that case.

Last month, an attorney for Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, sent a letter to Guo demanding that any records related to Hunter Biden be retained. letter sent after two months mother jones The magazine detailed how Bannon, working with Giuliani, “arranged for Guo and his followers to disseminate pornographic videos and photos from Hunter Biden’s laptop,” obtained from a Delaware computer repair shop. I went.

A 12-count grand jury criminal indictment on Wednesday alleges that Guo and Jie “conspired to defraud thousands of victims” in the scheme, which spanned from 2018 to this month.

Prosecutors said the alleged conspiracy involved the use of various entities and programs to obtain investments from victims who were defrauded by misrepresentations and false statements.

“Kwok lied to his victims and promised them higher returns if they invested, or gave money to GTV [Media]His so called Himalaya Farm Alliance, G | Club, and Himalaya Exchange,” prosecutors said in a press release.

Guo and Jie face charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

Jey has been accused of allegedly trying to move funds related to the conspiracy to the United Arab Emirates since last September after US authorities issued seizure warrants on several banks to seize the proceeds of the alleged fraud amounting to about $355 million. He has also been charged with obstruction of justice.

If convicted on the criminal counts, both Guo and Jay face a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Gurbir Grewal, director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, called Guo “a serial fraudster who raised more than $850 million by promising investors returns on alleged crypto, technology and luxury good investment opportunities.”

β€œIn effect, Guo took advantage of the publicity and allure of crypto and other investments to victimize thousands of people and fund the lavish lifestyle for himself and his family,” Grewal said.

The SEC’s complaint states that one example of Guo and Jie’s alleged fraud was a private placement offering of common stock in GTV Media Group.

“Guo and Jie allegedly diverted $100 million of investor funds to a hedge fund for the sole benefit of a company owned by Guo’s son,” the SEC said.

The SEC said Guo allegedly misappropriated investor proceeds in two other offerings to buy and renovate a New Jersey mansion and pay more than $40 million to buy a Ferrari for his son.

β€” WNBC’s Jonathan Dienst contributed reporting

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