Chinese billionaire arrested and charged in fraudulent scheme to defraud investors of more than $1 billion

New York

Chinese billionaire and avowed dissident Guo Wengui was arrested on Wednesday, charged with fraud Thousands of followers were siphoned from more than $1 billion in funds through a complex investment scheme, U.S. prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Wen Gui, a staunch critic of the Chinese government who lives in exile in Manhattan and is close to former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon, was arrested in New York on Wednesday morning. He is accused of defrauding or misappropriating investor funds using different schemes, including his media company GTV Media Group, a farm loan program through the Himalaya Farm Alliance, and a cryptocurrency called Himalaya Coin.

The 145-foot luxury yacht Guo used was worth about $37 million, according to the Justice Department.

Wengui is also known as He Yunguo and Wengui.

Prosecutors said Wengui did not use the money as he had promised potential investors, but instead directed the funds to be invested in a hedge fund benefiting GTV and a relative to pay him $37 million, 145 ft. Luxury Yachts – Maintenance of a yacht in New Jersey. Mansions and a $4.4 million custom Bugatti sports car. In a letter to the judge, prosecutors said they were seeking to detain him, arguing he was a serious flight risk.

CNN has reached out to Wengui’s lawyer for comment.

Wengui co-founded two nonprofit organizations, the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Association, and prosecutors say he used to attract a following who believed in many of his ideas.

The nonprofits are linked to a group promoting the theory that the novel coronavirus was likely engineered in a Chinese laboratory. The rule of law organization was co-founded by Wengui and Bannon.

Bannon has not been charged in the case.

Bannon was arrested on Miles Miles’ yacht in 2020 on fraud charges related to a border wall fundraiser. Bannon was pardoned by Trump but indicted on similar state charges. Bannon has pleaded not guilty.

Guo Wengui owns a 50,000-square-foot New Jersey mansion, the Justice Department said.

Prosecutors said they had seized $634 million from 21 bank accounts and a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster.

Wengui is indicted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, in addition to criminal charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, securities fraud, international money laundering and obstruction of justice.

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