Guo Wengui Arrested in $1 Billion Fraud Conspiracy


Chris: The first time I can remember hearing about Guo Wengui was back in August of 2020. That’s when Steve Bannon, do you remember this? He was arrested on federal fraud charges. He was accused of using money donated to an organization he was part of, called Build The Wall, The Southern Border, to lineGuo Wengui

his own pockets. And the people that arrested Bannon were U.S. Postal Service inspectors on the yacht of a Chinese billionaire off the coast of Connecticut. Struck me as kind of odd at the time. Well, the Chinese billionaire, owner of the yacht, is known as Guo Wengui. He made his fortune in Chinese real estate but fled China in 2014 when he was accused of bribery and embezzlement. Guo Wengui then became a huge patron of Steve Bannon, the entire American right wing, even sponsoring last month’s CPAC. Well, today it was Guo’s turn to be arrested by federal agents on fraud allegations.

Federal prosecutors in New York alleged that Guo, and a co-defendant, conspired to defraud thousands of victims of more than approximately $1 billion through fictitious businesses and other online schemes. Political investigations reporter Jose Pagliery has been covering this story for “The Daily Beast,” and he joins me now. Jose, first give us a little bit of context about… I really had not been that aware of Guo before the yacht incident with Bannon. But he’s been a very vocal anti-CCP voice. Guo Wengui is very opposed to the ruling Chinese party, and a real patron for conservatives in the U.S. Who is he? What’s his deal?

Jose: So, for those who’ve never heard of Guo Wengui, this is gonna sound pretty unbelievable, but in a minute or two, everyone will understand exactly what’s going on here. This guy has a huge voice in the Chinese dissident community, and it’s because right now, China, as we all know, is cracking down on these Chinese oligarchs, especially those who threaten Xi Jinping and his authority there. And so, this is one of those billionaires who fled to the United States. Guo Wengui came here in late 2014, sometime in 2015, and he made New York sort of the home base for this big fight against the CCP. Now, in doing so, he befriended all these far right-wingers, and like you said, Guo Wengui became really close to Steve Bannon. Anyone who watches “The War Room” show that Steve Bannon has, is familiar with Guo because he’s a sort of, like, amateur rap artist who has a song calling out the CCP, and how bad they are, right?

But what people don’t know about Guo Wengui is that he has been sued by everyone left and right in recent years, particularly in local court in New York, because what he tends to do is he tends to befriend dissidents, bring them in close, and then fool them. Guo Wengui defrauds them. And if they speak out against him. Well, right? Except that in all of these lawsuits, he has to detail time and time again exactly what it is that he does. And what he does is he brings people in close, and then anytime they start questioning why they’re not getting paid by him, he seeks his mob. Guo Wengui goes on social media and in Mandarin, speaks to people, and tells them to attack, or go out against these people who he has now defamed.

Now, what we know about Guo Wengui in recent years is that as he’s been raising all this money from the dissident community, and launching what has now gotten him into trouble with the SEC, he, at the same time in court cases, has been telling people who’ve fought against him that he’s penniless. And so, this is a really interesting story where we’ve got a guy who lives just three blocks away from Trump Tower, in one of the best spots in Manhattan, a beautiful, huge condo that overlooks Central Park, while he’s telling a lot of people that he’s broke, while also raising more than a billion dollars from people that Guo is telling should be taking part in this effort against the CCP.

But what we’ve learned today from this indictment is that what Guo Wengui allegedly has been doing with this money is actually just enriching himself. He’s just pocketing it much like ding, ding, ding, some of the right-wing friends that he’s made over the years.

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