Chinese businessman Guo Wengui has been arrested in New York and has been charged with fraud for allegedly running fraudulent schemes that ripped retail investors off $1.4 billion.
Reports had it that hours after his arrest, Guo’s luxury penthouse apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side caught fire.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reportedly investigating the fire.
Guo ran four alleged schemes, three of which were related to GTV Media Group, the Chinese social media company formed in April 2020 by Guo and Steve Bannon – a longtime ally and former adviser to former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Bannon was arrested on Guo’s yacht, the 152-foot-long Lady May, in August 2020 and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in connection to a crowdfunded effort to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Guo’s fourth alleged scheme – which the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in a separate civil complaint raised $500 million from retail investors – was an unrelated crypto venture called H-Coin, or Himalaya Coin.
Guo founded and promoted H-Coin in 2021, telling his social media followers that the currency was 20% backed by gold and promising to cover “100% of investment losses attributable to H-Coin.”
Four months later, in February 2022, Guo filed for bankruptcy protection, claiming assets valued between $50,000 and $100,000 and liabilities of up to $500 million.
Before declaring bankruptcy, Guo lived lavishly – a lifestyle prosecutors say was funded by unsuspecting investors.