US prosecutors stated on Wednesday that they had detained Chinese millionaire and self-proclaimed dissident Guo Wengui on charges of scamming thousands of followers out of more than $1 billion through complicated investment schemes.
Wengui was arrested in New York City on Wednesday morning. He is a vocal critic of the Chinese government who has been living in exile in Manhattan and is connected to Steve Bannon, a former adviser to Donald Trump.
Several of his businesses and ventures, including GTV Media Group, Himalaya Farm Alliance, and the Himalaya Coin cryptocurrency, are under investigation for potential investment fraud. Ho Wan Kwok and Miles Guo are other names for Wengui.
According to the prosecution, Wengui invested the money in a hedge fund that benefited GTV and a relative, used the money to pay for the upkeep of his $37 million, 145-foot luxury yacht, New Jersey mansion, and $4.4 million custom-built Bugatti sports car, all while promising investors he would use the money for legitimate purposes.
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In a letter to the judge, prosecutors explained why they want him detained: they believe he poses a significant flight risk. To get Wengui’s side of the story, CNN has contacted his attorney.
Prosecutors said Wengui attracted supporters of his ideas by using the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Society, two of the groups he co-founded. These charities were associated with a movement that claims the new coronavirus was engineered in a Chinese laboratory.
Wengui and Bannon formed several organizations dedicated to the Rule of Law. In this matter, Bannon has not been arrested or charged. In 2020, Bannon was apprehended aboard Wengui’s yacht on fraud allegations unrelated to the border wall.
Trump pardoned Bannon, but he faces identical accusations at the state level. Bannon entered a plea of not guilty. Twenty-one bank accounts and a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster were frozen by prosecutors, who claimed to have found $634 million.
The SEC has filed suit against Wengui, in addition to the criminal accusations of conspiracy, wire fraud, securities fraud, international money laundering, and obstruction of justice.
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