Skip to main content

Pro-Trump Chinese Businessman Miles Guo Arrested in the US Over Alleged US$1 Billion Fraud Conspiracy

Miles Guo, a Chinese businessman and internet media personality with close ties to former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, has been arrested on various charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. 


According to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, Miles Guo was arrested in the morning of March 15 for allegedly orchestrating an over US$1 billion fraud conspiracy. Over US$630 million of alleged fraud proceeds were seized by the U.S. Government. 

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the unsealing of a twelve-count Indictment charging Guo as well as his financier Kin Ming Je with various wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering charges.  

The defendants allegedly solicited "investments in various entities and programs through false statements and representations to hundreds of thousands of Guo’s online followers," and "misappropriated hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulently obtained funds during the course of their conspiracy."

Guo was arrested on Wednesday (March 15) morning in New York, while Kin Ming Je remains at large. 

Guo Wengui (Chinese: 郭文贵) is known by various aliases, listed in the Indictment as "Ho Wan Kwok," "Miles Kwok," "Brother Seven," and "The Principal." 

Guo Wengui was a well-known business tycoon in the People's Republic of China (PRC), with ties to powerful government officials. In 2014 he was the 74th richest person in the country with a net worth of $2.6 billion. His most high-profile property development project was the Pangu Plaza, a torch-shaped building close to many of the 2008 Beijing Olympic venues.

Guo fell out of favour with the regime in 2014. The following year Li You, one of his business partners, was arrested by police on corruption charges. Ma Jian, a former state security vice minister who was reportedly close to Guo, was detained in 2016 on charges of bribery and abuse of power and subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

Guo Wengui fled the PRC in 2014 to avoid corruption charges. PRC authorities accused him of paying 60 million RMB in bribes to Ma Jian.  

Guo settled in the United States and became an outspoken opponent of the Chinese Communist regime with a substantial internet presence. He claimed to have ample evidence of corruption against PRC leader Xi Jinping and his allies. 

Guo reportedly first met Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon in 2017, and the two became close associates, often appearing together on Guo's internet channel. 

In June of 2020, Bannon and Gui livestreamed a press conference on a boat in New York Harbor in which they announced the creation of an alternative Chinese government, called the New Federal State of China. "The news conference ended with Guo enthusiastically chanting a slogan condemning the Chinese Communist Party and planting a kiss on Bannon's cheek," NPR reported. 

In August 2020, Steve Bannon was arrested by federal agents on a yacht owned by Guo Wengui off Westbrook, Connecticut, on fraud charges. 

Regarding Guo's indictment, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated: "As alleged, Ho Wan Kwok, known to many as 'Miles Guo,' led a complex conspiracy to defraud thousands of his online followers out of over $1 billion dollars. Kwok 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. 

Guo Wengui's 50,000 square foot New Jersey mansion, via US Department of Justice 

_____

"As alleged, Kwok lied to his victims and promised them outsized returns if they invested, or provided money to, GTV, his so-called Himalaya Farm Alliance, G|CLUBS, and the Himalaya Exchange. 

"Kwok is further charged with laundering hundreds of millions of stolen funds to conceal the conspiracy’s illegal activities and continue the fraud’s operations."

Guo founded two nonprofit organizations, the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Society, and "used them to amass followers who were aligned with his purported policy objectives in China and who were also inclined to believe his statements regarding investment and money-making opportunities," the Indictment says.

One of the schemes involved Guo's GTV Media Group, Inc. In April 2020, he posted a video on social media announcing the unregistered offering of GTV Media Group, Inc. common stock via a private placement.  Guo touted GTV as a wide-ranging media company. He described "the investment terms for the GTV Private Placement, and directed people to contact him, via a mobile messaging application, with any questions about the GTV Private Placement. The video and GTV Private Placement materials included a written 'Confidential Information Memorandum' (the 'PPM').  The PPM stated on the cover 'Everything Is Just the Beginning!,' provided information about GTV, and contained false representations regarding how the money raised from the GTV Private Placement would be used."

The Indictment further states: 

"Between on or about April 20, 2020 and on or about June 2, 2020, approximately $452 million worth of GTV common stock was purportedly sold to more than 5,500 investors. Investors participated in the GTV Private Placement based, in part, on the belief that their money would be invested into GTV to develop and grow that business, as the PPM promised.  In early June 2020, just days after the GTV Private Placement closed, [Guo] and JE directed that $100 million of funds raised from the GTV Private Placement be invested in a high-risk hedge fund for the benefit of GTV’s parent company and its ultimate beneficial owner who was a close family relative of [Guo]."

Guo Wengui was charged with the following eleven counts: 

•1 Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Bank Fraud, Securities Fraud and Money Laundering (maximum penalty: 5 years in prison).

•2 Wire Fraud (GTV Private Placement) (20 years in prison).

•3 Securities Fraud (GTV Private Placement) (20 years in prison).

•4 Wire Fraud (Farm Loan Program) (20 years in prison).

•5 Securities Fraud (Farm Loan Program) (20 years in prison).

•6 Wire Fraud (G|CLUBS) (20 years in prison).

•7 Securities Fraud (G|CLUBS) (20 years in prison).

•8 Wire Fraud (Himalaya Exchange) (20 years in prison).

•9 International Promotional Money Laundering (20 years in prison). 

•10 International Concealment Money Laundering (20 years in prison).

•11 Unlawful Monetary Transactions (10 years in prison).

______

If you want to support me, visit my ko-fi profile, or take a look at some of my books on Amazon 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Window Trick of Las Vegas Hotels

When I lived in Hong Kong I often passed by a residential apartment complex commonly known as the " monster building ".  " Interior of the Yick Cheong Building November 2016 " by  Nick-D  is licensed under  CC BY-SA 4.0 . _____

Living in Taiwan: Seven Reasons Why It's Good to Be Here

Chinese New Year can be a pretty boring time for a foreigner. All of my friends were celebrating with their families, and since I have no family here, nor have I a girlfriend whose family I could join, I had nothing special to do. Shops and cafes were closed - apart from big chains like McDonald's or Starbucks, which were overcrowded anyway. So I had a lot of time to think. On Saturday evening I went out to buy my dinner. While I was walking around, I heard the voices of the people inside their homes, the sounds of their New Year celebrations. Then I suddenly asked myself: "What on earth are you doing here? Why are you still in Taiwan?"  Before I came to Taiwan, some Taiwanese friends of mine had recommended me their country, highly prasing it and going so far as to say that Taiwan is a "paradise for foreigners" (bear in mind that when I say foreigners I mean 'Westerners').  "It's easy for foreigners to find a job," t

Is China's MINISO Copying Japan's MUJI, UNIQLO and Daiso?

Over the past few years Japanese retailers such as UNIQLO and MUJI have conquered foreign markets, opening shops in cities such as Paris, Berlin or New York and becoming household names in several countries. But the success of their business model seems to have inspired people with dubious intentions. As the website Daliulian recently showed, a new chain called MINISO, which claims to be a Japanese company selling ‘100% Japanese products’, seems to be nothing more than a knock-off of UNIQLO, MUJI and Daiso, copying their logos, names and even the layout of their stores. The company’s webpage proudly announces – in terrible English – that “ MINISO is a fast fashion designer brand of Japan. Headquartered in Tokyo Japan, Japanese young designer Miyake Jyunya is founder as well as the chief designer of MINISO, a pioneer in global 'Fashion & Casual Superior Products' field. ” According to the company’s homepage, MINISO advocates the philosophy of a simple,

Macau: Gambling, Corruption, Prostitution, and Fake Worlds

As I mentioned in my previous post , Macau has different faces and identities: there is the old Macau, full of colonial buildings and in which the pace of life seems to resemble a relaxed Mediterranean town rather than a bustling, hectic Chinese city, such as Hong Kong or Shanghai. On the other hand, there is the Macau of gambling, of gigantic hotel and casino resorts, and of prostitution. These two Macaus seem to be spatially separated from each other, with an intact colonial city centre and nice outskirts with small alleys on the one side, and bombastic, modern buildings on the other.  The Galaxy - one of the huge casino and hotel resorts The Importance of Gambling for Macau's Economy Dubbed the 'Monte Carlo of the East', Macau has often been portrayed as the gambling capital of China. Media reporting on Macau tend present pictures of the city's glistening, apparently luxurious skyline. But a visit in Macau suffices to realize that it is fa

Trip to Tainan

Tainan Train Station Last weekend I made a one day trip to the Southern Taiwanese city of Tainan (Chinese: 臺南, pinyin: Táinán), the former capital and one of the most important centres of culture, history and architecture of the island. This blog post is also intended as a special thank to Grace, a Taiwanese friend who was so kind to show me around, and very patient, too. Since Tainan doesn't have an extensive public transport net, Grace picked me up at the train station with her motorcycle, a vehicle that, along with cars, is regarded by locals as indispensable for living comfortably in Tainan. To my great embarrassment, though, I had to admit that I cannot ride a motorcycle. That's why we had to take busses to move around. It was the first time she ever took a bus in Tainan. And now I know why: busses come more or less every half an hour, and service stops early in the evening. No wonder Tainanese snob public transport. Grace had no idea about the routes and about whe