Business News/ News / World/  Chinese tycoon arrested in $1 billion fraud conspiracy

US prosecutors have arrested Chinese billionaire and political dissident Guo Wengui for allegedly defrauding thousands of followers out of more than $1 billion through various investment schemes on Wednesday.

Guo is known for his criticism of the Chinese government and his association with former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

As per a report by CNN, the charges include the misuse of investor money in his media company GTV Media Group, the Himalaya Farm Alliance farm loan program, and a cryptocurrency called Himalaya Coin. Guo was taken into custody in New York on Wednesday morning.

Guo, who is also known as Ho Wan Kwok and Miles Guo, has been accused by prosecutors of using investor funds for personal expenses such as the maintenance payments for his luxury yacht, New Jersey mansion, and a custom-built Bugatti sports car.

Instead of using the funds as promised, he allegedly directed them towards a hedge fund to benefit GTV and a relative. Guo recently consented to detention, and a federal judge denied him bail.

Guo, a co-founder of two nonprofit organizations, the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Society, allegedly used these organizations to attract followers who believed in his ideas.

These nonprofits were also linked to a group that promoted the theory that the novel coronavirus was engineered in a Chinese lab. Guo co-founded the Rule of Law organizations with Bannon, who has not been charged in this case.

Bannon was previously arrested on fraud charges in 2020 related to a border wall fundraising effort, and was later pardoned by Trump but indicted on similar state charges. Bannon has pleaded not guilty.

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Updated: 16 Mar 2023, 11:16 AM IST
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