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Chinese billionaire and associate of Steve Bannon arrested in $1 billion fraud conspiracy, officials say

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Exile Chinese billionaire Guo Wenguian associate of Trump’s former White House adviser steve bannonwas arrested by federal authorities in New York on Wednesday morning on charges of orchestrating a billion-dollar fraudulent scheme, prosecutors said.

Guo, charged in court papers as Ho Wan Kwok and who also goes by Miles Guo and Miles Kwok, was charged with 12 counts, including wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud and money laundering in an unsealed indictment on Wednesday, the The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in a press release.

The same day news of his arrest broke, Guo’s apartment in New York was found on fire, a source familiar with the matter said. The FBI had to be evacuated during their search when the fire broke out, while he was already in custody, the source said.

U.S. attorney Damian Williams said in a statement that Guo led an elaborate conspiracy to defraud thousands of his online subscribers out of more than $1 billion.

Guo, alongside his alleged co-conspirator Kin Ming Je, also known as William Je, is accused of taking advantage of Guo’s online presence to solicit investment in various businesses and schemes by “promising returns outsized financial and other benefits,” prosecutors said. They then embezzled hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulently obtained funds, which Guo allegedly used for a lavish lifestyle.

“Kwok is accused of lining his pockets with money he stole, including buying himself and his close relatives a 50,000 square foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari dollars and even two $36,000 mattresses, and finance a $37 million luxury yacht,” Williams said.

Kin Ming Je, Guo’s financier, was also charged in the indictment, slapped with a new charge of obstruction of justice and has yet to be arrested.

Information on Guo and Kin Ming Je’s attorneys was not immediately available Wednesday.

The US government seized $634 million in suspected fraud proceeds from 21 different bank accounts along with assets purchased with the suspected fraud proceeds, including a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roads, prosecutors said.

Jonathan Diest contributed.


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