Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, on the balcony of his apartment, facing Central Park, on November 28, 2017 in New York (AFP/TIMOTHY A. CLARY)
Chinese billionaire in exile Guo Wengui, a controversial figure claiming to be an opponent of the Chinese regime, was arrested on Wednesday in New York where the American justice accuses him of having cheated thousands of his subscribers on the internet for more a billion dollars.
Guo Wengui, 52, was arrested “this morning in New York” and federal prosecutors in Manhattan have charged him with 11 charges of “electronic fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud and money laundering”, said the services of the prosecutor Damian Williams in a press release.
The man who presented himself as a fierce critic of the Chinese communist regime and a fervent defender of democracy, while maintaining links with the sulphurous figure of the American right Steve Bannon, now faces several sentences of 20 years in prison.
“I want to try to achieve a rule of law, to achieve democracy, freedom, this is my ultimate goal, a change of the regime”, if possible “within three years”, he had assured, in an interview with AFP in 2017, in his luxurious apartment in Manhattan. He then firmly denied the charges of fraud against him in China.
Exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, a controversial figure claiming to be an opponent of the Chinese regime, in New York during a press conference on January 27, 2019 (AFP/Archives/Don EMMERT)
“Ho Wan Kwok, also known as +Miles Guo+”, or Guo Wengui, “conducted a complex fraud aimed at defrauding over a billion dollars from thousands of people who follow him online”, indicated Wednesday the prosecutor.
According to American justice, the victims were promised juicy profits if they invested in the companies of the businessman.
“Kwok is accused of having lined his pockets with the money he stole, in particular by buying himself and his relatives a mansion of more than 4,600 m2, a Ferrari at 3.5 million dollars”, adds Damian Williams, who also lists “two mattresses of 36,000 dollars” and the financing of “a luxury yacht worth 37 million dollars”.
The federal prosecutor’s office added that approximately $634 million, “proceeds of this alleged fraud” were seized from bank accounts in 2022 and 2023, along with assets such as a “Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roads”.
An alleged accomplice, Kin Ming Je, considered to be Guo Wengui’s financier, is on the run and wanted by American justice, added the prosecution.
© 2023 AFP
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