Feds Charge Bannon Ally in $1B Fraud

Guo Wengui accused of defrauding investors, laundering funds
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2023 2:14 PM CDT
Feds Charge Bannon Ally in $1B Fraud
A Twitter page of Chinese exiled businessman Guo Wengui is seen on a computer screen in Beijing, Aug. 30, 2017.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

A billionaire who fled China before he could be arrested on charges including fraud in 2014 has been charged with fraud in the US. Guo Wengui, a close ally of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, was arrested on federal charges early Wednesday at his $32 million Manhattan apartment, ABC reports. Prosecutors say Guo, also known as Ho Wan Kwok and Miles Kwok, orchestrated a scheme to scam his online followers out of more than $1 billion, reports the New York Times. He allegedly solicited investments in several business ventures and misappropriated the funds.

Guo "is charged with lining his pockets with the money he stole, including buying himself, and his close relatives, a 50,000 square foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari and even two $36,000 mattresses, and financing a $37 million luxury yacht," a federal indictment states. Bannon was on Guo's 150-foot yacht when he was arrested in 2020 for allegedly scamming people who donated to a crowdfunded border wall scheme.

One of the business entities listed in the indictment is GTV Media Group, a proposed news-focused social media platform, the Times reports. Prosecutors say much of the $452 million collected from thousands of investors did not go toward growing the business, with $100 million placed in a high-risk hedge fund. Bannon helped found GTV but has not been charged, reports ABC. Guo is also accused of money laundering. Prosecutors said $634 million in proceeds from the alleged fraud was retrieved from 21 bank accounts between September 2022 and this month, Axios reports. (More fraud stories.)

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