According to US authorities, Chinese millionaire and self-declared dissident Guo Wengui was detained on Wednesday and charged with scamming thousands of followers out of more than $1 billion through intricate investment schemes.
On Wednesday morning, Guo, a fervent opponent of the Chinese government who lives in exile in Manhattan and is close to the late Steve Bannon, was arrested. He is accused of employing a variety of schemes, including his media company GTV Media Group, a farm loan program run by Himalaya Farm Alliance, and a cryptocurrency called Himalaya Coin, to swindle or misappropriate investor funds.
Guo also goes by the names Ho Wan Kwok and Miles Guo.
The $37 million, 145-foot luxury yacht, the $4.4 million custom-built Bugatti sports car, and Guo’s New Jersey mansion were among the assets he promised investors he would use, according to the prosecution. Instead, they claim, Guo invested the money in a hedge fund that benefited GTV and a relative.
After Guo agreed to be detained, a federal judge rejected bail.
According to an individual familiar with the situation, a fire started at Guo’s residence earlier on Wednesday as the FBI was executing a search warrant there. The cause of the fire is being looked at, according to US attorney’s office spokesman Nicholas Biase.
Guo is accused of using his co-foundation of two nonprofit organizations, the Rule of Law Society and the Rule of Law Foundation, to enlist the support of people who shared many of his beliefs.
These organizations had ties to a movement that supported the idea that the new coronavirus was most likely created in a Chinese laboratory. Guo and Bannon collaborated to form the Rule of Law groups.
Bannon is not facing any charges in this situation.
A border wall funding campaign led to Bannon’s arrest in 2020 aboard Guo’s yacht on unrelated fraud allegations. Trump pardoned Bannon, but he was still charged with identical state crimes. Bannon has maintained his innocence.
Attorneys claimed to have confiscated a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster and $634 million from 21 bank accounts.