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Chinese businessman with ties to Steve Bannon arrested on fraud charges

March 15, 2023 Updated Thu., March 16, 2023 at 3:01 p.m.

By Julian Mark </p><p>and Rachel Lerman Washington Post

Guo Wengui, a Chinese businessman with ties to former Trump White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon, was arrested Wednesday as federal prosecutors unsealed a 12-count indictment alleging he defrauded his online followers out of more than $1 billion.

Prosecutors allege that Guo – formally charged as Ho Wan Kwok and known as “Miles Guo” – spent some of the money on a mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari and a $37 million yacht.

In August 2020, federal authorities arrested Bannon off the coast of Connecticut on a yacht belonging to Guo, alleging that he fleeced donors to a nonprofit group that claimed it was building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Bannon pleaded not guilty and was later pardoned by President Donald Trump.

The indictment, filed in the Southern District of New York, alleges that Guo and a co-conspirator led a “complex” conspiracy that fraudulently raised funds from thousands of online follows and investors through various endeavors, including GTV, a sprawling network of media websites and social media accounts that have been found to spread misinformation about coronavirus remedies and the 2020 election.

Prosecutors allege Gui solicited funds through an illegal stock offering; from late April to early June 2020, he raised $452 million from more than 5,500 investors. Guo and his alleged co-conspirator, Kin Ming Je, directed $100 million of that money to a “high-risk hedge fund” that benefited GTV’s parent company and its owner, one of Guo’s close relatives, according to prosecutors.

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