FBI investigating New York hotel fire where Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui was arrested

NEW YORK — Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese billionaire with business ties to Steve Bannon, has been arrested in New York on federal charges.

Guo owned the 152-foot-long Lady May yacht on which Bannon was arrested in August 2020.

Guo and Bannon were investigated in connection with GTV Media Group, which the Securities and Exchange Commission has previously accused of violating securities laws.

The FBI arrested Guo, also known as Ho Wan Kwok, Wednesday morning in New York on charges of orchestrating a billion-dollar fraud.

“Kwok is accused of lining his pockets with the money he stole, including buying himself and his loved ones a 50,000 square foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari dollars and even two $36,000 mattresses, and financing a $37 million luxury yacht,” the US attorney said. said Damian Williams.

Fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui holds a news conference on November 20, 2018 in New York, on the death of tycoon Wang Jian in France on July 3, 2018.

Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

The SEC on Wednesday filed civil lawsuits accusing Guo and his financial adviser, Kin Ming Je, of “multiple fraudulent offers” targeting retail investors through online and social media posts and videos.

“Since or around April 2020, Guo has conducted fraudulent securities offerings that have collectively raised at least hundreds of millions of dollars from investors in the United States and around the world. Unbeknownst to these investors, Guo and his financial advisor, Je, misappropriated much of the funds raised from some of the Interested Bids to enrich themselves and their family members,” the SEC complaint states.

Guo, 54, made three unregistered securities offerings to investors as a way to get shares of GTV and a fourth offering as a way to get a crypto asset security called “H-Coin” which he has falsely claimed to be backed by gold reserves, the SEC said.

The FBI’s New York field office is also working to determine if a two-alarm fire at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel is linked to Guo’s arrest, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News. FBI agents were still inside Guo’s apartment when the fire broke out at 12:02 p.m., sources told ABC News.

Guo was arrested at 6 a.m. at his $32 million apartment in the building. Officers were forced to evacuate when the fire broke out six hours later.

Firefighters were called just after noon to a fire on the 18th floor, according to the FDNY. Guo’s 15-room penthouse suffered extensive damage, sources said.

No one was injured in the fire.

Guo, a critic of the Chinese government, fled China in 2014 and is considered a fugitive by the PRC. He appeared on Forbes’ billionaires list in 2015, worth an estimated $1.1 billion, but declared bankruptcy in February 2022.

FBI investigating New York hotel fire where Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui was arrested

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, right, greets runaway Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui before introducing him at a press conference, November 20, 2018, in New York City.

Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Bannon helped Guo find GTV, but was not charged.

Bannon is currently being prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney for defrauding donors to the We Build the Wall online fundraising campaign.


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