Chinese billionaire arrested and charged in alleged fraud conspiracy that bilked buyers of greater than $1 billion

New York

Chinese billionaire and proclaimed dissident Guo Wengui was arrested Wednesday and charged with defrauding hundreds of followers out of greater than $1 billion by means of complicated funding schemes, US prosecutors introduced Wednesday.

Guo, a staunch critic of the Chinese 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 is charged with defrauding or misappropriating investor cash utilizing completely different schemes, together with his media firm GTV Media Group, a farm mortgage program by means of Himalaya Farm Alliance, and a cryptocurrency referred to as Himalaya Coin.

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

Prosecutors mentioned as a substitute of utilizing the cash the best way he promised potential buyers, Guo directed the funds to spend money on 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 automotive valued at $4.4 million. Prosecutors mentioned in a letter to the decide that they’re searching for his detention, arguing he poses a critical danger of flight.

CNN has reached out to Guo’s lawyer for remark.

Guo co-founded two nonprofit organizations, the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Society, that prosecutors allege he used to draw a following who believed in a lot of his concepts.

Those nonprofits have been linked to a gaggle selling the speculation that the novel coronavirus was doubtless engineered in a Chinese lab. The Rule of Law organizations have been co-founded by Guo and Bannon.

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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 comparable state fees. Bannon has pleaded not responsible.

50,000 square foot New Jersey mansion owned by Guo Wengui, according to the US Justice Department.

Prosecutors mentioned they’ve seized $634 million from 21 financial institution accounts and a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster.

In addition to legal fees of conspiracy, wire fraud, securities fraud, worldwide cash laundering and obstruction of justice, Guo was additionally sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission.