Judge nixes bail for Chinese businessman in $1B fraud case

Apr 20, 2023, 12:45 PM | Updated: 1:08 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — A self-exiled Chinese businessman charged in a $1 billion fraud case will remain behind bars after a federal judge rejected a proposed $25 million bail package Thursday, saying there was clear and convincing evidence he would remain an economic threat and a flight risk if he were freed.

Judge Analisa Torres said in a written order that she didn’t trust that Guo Wengui would obey court orders if released, even with strict bail conditions including GPS monitoring and a 24-hour guard. She noted that he faces a maximum sentence of over 100 years in prison if convicted.

She said Guo has continued to promote fraudulent investment opportunities even after funds were seized from his businesses last year.

Guo, 54, was arrested last month on charges including wire and securities fraud. Prosecutors said he fleeced thousands of investors in too-good-to-be-true offerings that promised outsize profits for investors in his media company, GTV Media Group Inc., his so-called Himalaya Farm Alliance, G’CLUBS and the Himalaya Exchange.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Since September the U.S. government has seized approximately $634 million from 21 bank accounts associated with Guo, who is referred to in court documents by the name Ho Wan Kwok.

Guo has claimed he has only $10,000 in noncash assets, though prosecutors say he has control of a 50,000-square-foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari, two $36,000 mattresses and a $37 million luxury yacht.

It was on Guo’s yacht that Steve Bannon, the former chief White House strategist under ex-President Donald Trump, was arrested in a criminal fraud case several years ago. Trump pardoned Bannon just before he left office in 2021.

Judge Torres noted in her order Thursday that Guo was accused of using proceeds from a five-year fraud scheme from 2018 through this March to buy extravagant goods and assets for himself and his family.

Torres said Guo accumulated a large online following in 2017 with claims against the Chinese Communist Party before founding a nonprofit a year later that drew even more followers. She cited evidence that he subsequently advertised fraudulent investment activities to his followers.

Guo was once thought to be among the richest people in China before he left that country in 2014 during a crackdown on corruption that ensnared individuals close to him, including a top intelligence official. Chinese authorities have accused Guo of rape, kidnapping, bribery and other offenses.

Guo has said those allegations are false and intended to punish him for publicly outing corruption in China and criticizing leading figures in the Communist Party.

Lawyers for Guo did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. A spokesperson for prosecutors declined to comment.

United States News

Associated Press

Fire blamed on e-bike battery kills 1, injures 6 in Bronx apartment building

NEW YORK (AP) — One person was killed and six others were injured when a fire blamed on an electric bicycle battery tore through a New York City apartment, officials said Monday. The fire started at around 7 p.m. Sunday in a 10th-floor apartment in a public housing complex in the Bronx, a Fire Department […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young speaks about the possible government...

Associated Press

White House warns Congress the US is out of money, nearly out of time to avoid ‘kneecap’ to Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Monday sent Congress an urgent warning about the need to approve tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Ukraine, saying Kyiv’s war effort to defend itself from Russia’s invasion may grind to a halt without it. In a letter to House and Senate leaders […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting at home in Washington state kills 5 including the suspected shooter, report says

ORCHARDS, Wash. (AP) — Five people were killed in a shooting at a Washington state home where police said the deceased included the suspected shooter, according to a news report. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office said officers found the bodies inside a home in Orchards, Washington, following a call around 1 p.m. Sunday, KGW8-TV reported. […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Israel orders evacuations as it widens offensive but Palestinians are running out of places to go

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel’s military renewed calls Monday for mass evacuations from the southern town of Khan Younis, where tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge in recent weeks, as it widened its ground offensive and bombarded targets across the Gaza Strip. The expanded operations, following the expiration of a […]

8 hours ago

The Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City is shown on April 18, 2019. A top Mormon church official lea...

Associated Press

Takeaways from The AP’s investigation into the Mormon church’s handling of sex abuse cases

HAILEY, Idaho (AP) — Paul Rytting had been director of the Risk Management Division at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for around 15 years when a 31-year-old church member told him that her father, a former bishop, had sexually abused her when she was a child. Rytting flew from church headquarters in […]

11 hours ago

FILE - Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace gestures as he makes an election campaign speech for his wife...

Associated Press

The next Republican debate is in Alabama, the state that gave the GOP a road map to Donald Trump

ATLANTA (AP) — Republican presidential candidates will debate Wednesday within walking distance of where George Wallace staged his “stand in the schoolhouse door” to oppose the enrollment of Black students at the University of Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. The state that propelled Wallace, a Democrat and four-term governor, into national politics is now […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

Judge nixes bail for Chinese businessman in $1B fraud case