Exiled Chinese Billionaire Guo Wengui Faces Fraud Charges for $1 Billion Scam in NYC

By Jose Resurreccion

May 24, 2024 11:12 PM EDT

Exiled Chinese Billionaire Guo Wengui Faces Fraud Charges for $1 Billion Scam in NYC
Fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui hold a news conference on November 20, 2018 in New York, on the death of tycoon Wang Jian in France on July 3, 2018.
(Photo : DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

Self-exiled Chinese billionaire Miles Guo Wengui faced a New York City court Friday (May 24) after he was charged with allegedly defrauding investors of over $1 billion. His lawyers portray him as the dedicated leader of an anti-communist movement, thus not needing the money he was accused of stealing. 

The New York Times and the Associated Press quoted Guo's legal counsel, Sabrina Shroff, as saying that the allegations were "illogical" and that her client has no intention of defrauding his supporters and investors, as doing so would supposedly undercut his effort to topple the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Guo's Alleged Lifestyle Fueled by Fraud

On the other hand, prosecutors said that Guo promised investors shares in his various ventures, from media to cryptocurrency, but he allegedly "took investors' money" to finance his luxurious lifestyle. Among the alleged purchases Guo made include a yacht, a $4 million Bugatti sports car, and a $26 million New Jersey mansion. 

Bloomberg also reported that prosecution attorney Micah Ferguson told the jury he had an "$800 pair of sweatpants."

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Guo's Political Pendulum Swing

Guo was initially an affluent and influential property developer in Beijing, but he fled to the United States nine years ago after Chinese authorities arrested a powerful intelligence official who was well-connected to him. 

As an exile, he began speaking out on Western-developed social media and through his own media company against some senior Beijing officials, which eventually attracted the criticism and ire of the Chinese government and even prompted an Interpol arrest warrant.

Guo eventually aligned himself with the American right during the Trump administration, including with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. 

Guo has been in a federal detention center since March 2023 after he was arrested at his $68-million Manhattan apartment.

READ MORE: Blackstone Boss Stephen Schwarzman to Support Trump's White House Bid in Surprise Reversal of Stance

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