52-year-old Guo Wengui, whose real name is Ho Wan Kwok but also goes by the name Miles Guo, had fled China in 2015 because he was threatened with persecution. He settled in New York.
There he was in the spotlight for his ties to Steve Bannon, a former adviser to former President Donald Trump. Bannon called Guo “the Donald Trump of Beijing”. Guo and Bannon started a lobby against the Chinese Communist Party. Two organizations they co-founded, the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Society, have also been linked to promoting the theory that the coronavirus was manufactured in a Chinese lab.
Those two organizations were used by Guo “to gather followers who also opposed China and were inclined to believe his statements about investments and money-making opportunities,” according to New York’s Southern District Attorney and FBI Chief. in New York City.
In 2020, Bannon was arrested on a Guo yacht in a fraud case involving the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border.
Money stolen for his luxury life
Now Guo Wengui himself has been arrested in a fraud investigation. The Chinese businessman is said to have raised money for investments from his online followers, but stole the money and used it himself to live a luxurious life.
He financed a 4,645 square foot mansion in New Jersey, a $3.3 million Ferrari, a $4.4 million personalized Bugatti, the maintenance of a $37 million luxury yacht, carpets worth $978,000, and more. a $62,000 TV and two $36,000 mattresses, which he bought for himself and family members.
Guo Wengui is suspected of “leading a complex conspiracy to extort more than $1 billion from thousands of his online followers” between 2018 and 2023. He did this, among other things, through investments in his GTV Media Group, G Club, Farm Loan Program and Himalaya Exchange, with crypto coins Himalaya Coin and Himalaya Dollar.
The man is also charged with “laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen money to cover up the conspiracy’s illegal activities and continue the fraud activities.”
The police have already seized $634 million in 21 different bank accounts, just like a Lamborghini.
Hours after the businessman’s arrest, a fire broke out in his New York penthouse while the FBI was conducting a search. An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.
Financier also sued
In addition to Guo Wengui, his “financier” Kin Ming Je or “William” Je has also been charged. You owned and operated numerous companies and investment vehicles at the center of the plot, and were the financial architect and chief money launderer. Millions of extorted money were also transferred to his or his wife’s personal accounts. The man with dual British and Hong Kong nationality could not yet be arrested.
“The charges in the indictment stem from an allegedly elaborate and complex scheme by the defendants and others to attract investment in various entities and programs through false statements and representations to hundreds of thousands of online followers of Guo Wengui,” according to a press release from the prosecutors and the FBI.
The 11 charges against Guo and the 12 against Je – who is also charged with obstruction of justice – carry maximum sentences ranging from five to 20 years in prison.
Ties with Tony Blair and Rudy Giuliani
Guo would not only have had ties with Steve Bannon. The New Yorker magazine wrote a few months ago that the businessman’s application to buy his penthouse in an exclusive New York building contained a personal recommendation from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He is said to have said: “Miles is honest, frank and has impeccable taste.” However, according to The New Yorker, Guo was at the center of “a burgeoning scandal involving corruption and espionage” in China.
The businessman also allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to “Trump advisors, including Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani and attorney L Lin Wood, who joined efforts to reverse the 2020 election.”