Chinese language billionaire and proclaimed dissident Guo Wengui was arrested Wednesday and charged with defrauding 1000’s of followers out of greater than $1 billion via advanced funding schemes, US prosecutors introduced Wednesday.
Guo, a staunch critic of the Chinese language authorities who’s exiled in Manhattan and near former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon, was taken into custody in New York on Wednesday morning. He’s charged with defrauding or misappropriating investor cash utilizing completely different schemes, together with his media firm GTV Media Group, a farm mortgage program via Himalaya Farm Alliance, and a cryptocurrency referred to as Himalaya Coin.
Guo is also referred to as Ho Wan Kwok and Miles Guo.
Prosecutors mentioned as a substitute of utilizing the cash the best way he promised potential traders, Guo directed the funds to put money into a hedge fund to profit GTV and a relative, to cowl the upkeep funds for his $37 million, 145-foot luxurious yacht, a New Jersey mansion and a custom-built Bugatti sports activities automobile valued at $4.4 million.
A federal decide denied bail after Guo consented to detention.
In the meantime, a hearth broke out in Guo’s condo when the FBI was on website executing a search warrant earlier Wednesday, in keeping with an individual accustomed to the matter. A spokesman for the US lawyer’s workplace, Nicholas Biase, mentioned the reason for the fireplace is underneath investigation.
CNN has reached out to Guo’s lawyer for remark.
Guo co-founded two nonprofit organizations, the Rule of Legislation Basis and the Rule of Legislation Society, that prosecutors allege he used to draw a following who believed in a lot of his concepts.
These nonprofits have been linked to a gaggle selling the idea that the novel coronavirus was probably engineered in a Chinese language lab. The Rule of Legislation organizations have been co-founded by Guo and Bannon.
Bannon has not been charged on this case.
Bannon was arrested in 2020 on Guo’s yacht on unrelated fraud fees stemming from a border wall fundraising effort. Bannon was pardoned by Trump however indicted on related state fees. Bannon has pleaded not responsible.
Prosecutors mentioned they’ve seized $634 million from 21 financial institution accounts and a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster.
Along with prison fees of conspiracy, wire fraud, securities fraud, worldwide cash laundering and obstruction of justice, Guo was additionally sued by the Securities and Alternate Fee.