Chinese Celebrity Billionaire Miles Guo Arrested for Alleged Billion-Dollar Fraud Scheme

Fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui hold a news conference on November 20, 2018 in New
DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the arrest on Wednesday of flamboyant Chinese billionaire Ho Wan Kwok — known by multiple aliases including Miles Kwok, Miles Guo, and Guo Wengui — on charges of allegedly orchestrating a “sprawling and complex” fraud scheme that enriched him and an associate to the tune of over $1 billion.

Kwok, who had previously self-identified as an “affiliate” of the Chinese government’s Ministry of State Security, declared himself a political dissident and whistleblower in 2017, moving to New York and founding a news website, G News/GTV, that he described as dedicated to opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

According to the Department of Justice, Kwok worked with a “financier,” Kin Ming Je, to use a variety of platforms associated with his alleged anti-Chinese communist advocacy – including the media site GTV, an alleged cryptocurrency, and an alleged luxury “gateway” known as G CLUBS – to illicitly enrich himself. Kwok is facing 11 charges including “wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering;” nine of the charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Je, who is currently at large, is facing a twelfth criminal charge.

Reports indicate that the investigation into GTV is at least three years old, surfacing in public in 2020.

The U.S. government believes the two made over $1 billion in investments from the public and revealed it had seized “$634 million from 21 different bank accounts” so far.

“As alleged, Ho Wan Kwok, known to many as ‘Miles Guo,’ led a complex conspiracy to defraud thousands of his online followers out of over $1 billion dollars,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement. “Kwok is charged with lining his pockets with the money he stole, including buying himself, and his close relatives, a 50,000 square foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari, and even two $36,000 mattresses, and financing a $37 million luxury yacht.”

The indictment named four entities tied to Kwok as fraudulent enterprises: GTV, the media company associated with G News; the Himalaya Farm Alliance, an alleged “collective of informal groups” that Kwok raised funds for that allegedly went to yacht maintenance; G CLUBS, “an exclusive, high-end membership program offering a full spectrum of services;” and the Himalaya Exchange, an alleged cryptocurrency.

“As alleged, Kwok lied to his victims and promised them outsized returns if they invested, or provided money to, GTV, his so-called Himalaya Farm Alliance, G CLUBS, and the Himalaya Exchange,” the Justice Department explained, providing photos of some of Kwok’s most valued assets, including his luxury yacht, a mansion, and luxury automobiles.

The way Kwok and Je allegedly used these four entities to defraud the public varied from offering stock – as in the case of GTV, which Kwok would use his media outlet to promote – to simply offering “services” with apparently little elaboration, as in the case of G CLUBS. Some schemes, the Department of Justice claims, played the entities off of each other. For example, promising loans to the Farm Alliance “would be convertible into GTV common stock at a conversion rate of one share per dollar loaned.”

The 11 criminal charges against Kwok in America join a host of criminal accusations he has faced for years in China, including corruption, fraud, and rape. Kwok has repeatedly dismissed them all as communist propaganda designed to discredit his own corruption allegations against some of the most prominent people in dictator Xi Jinping’s inner circle.

In addition to the aforementioned media companies, Kwok attempted to use vocal advocacy against Beijing, including a music career and co-founding the “free speech” social media site Gettr, to elevate his profile in conservative American politics. His arguably most prominent associate in the world of conservative politics is former Trump administration official Steve Bannon, who was on the board of one of Kwok’s mystery corporations, the Rule of Law Society, and made public or media appearancces alongside Kwok. Bannon was arrested on 2020 on Kwok’s luxury yacht on allegations of fraud unrelated to the charges revealed against Kwok on Wednesday.

Kwok appears to have friends across the political spectrum, however, as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, of the left-wing Labour Party, reportedly vouched for him during the process to buy his luxury penthouse apartment in Manhattan.

Kwok’s penchant for photo shoots in his luxury Manhattan penthouse apartment with his Pomeranian, Snow; active Twitter profile; publication of multiple hip-hop songs against the Communist Party; and ostentatious dress rapidly earned him a New York Times profile in 2017. It also made him a recognizable figure to opponents of the Chinese regime, including many who questioned how he managed to defect, his wealth intact, and safely name and shame Communist Party elites.

On Wednesday, NBC News reported, citing an anonymous source, that Kwok’s apartment was on fire shortly after his arrest.

Kwok, the New Yorker reported last year, had “acknowledged that he had been a longtime ‘affiliate’ of China’s all-pervasive Ministry of State Security.”

While claiming to use G News, GTV, and other similar media platforms to oppose the Chinese Communist Party, Kwok used those platforms to intimidate and persecute individuals. In one particularly alarming case in 2020, Kwok personally suggested to his followers to “kill” prominent Chinese dissident and former political prisoner Bob Fu, a pastor whose organization, China Aid, advocates for persecuted Christians in the country. Fu and his wife have both served time in prison in China for practicing Christianity “illegally.”

The Midland Reporter-Telegram documented videos on GTV’s social media pages at the time featuring Kwok calling for supporters to “kill cheaters,” a category in which he placed Fu.

The pastor and his family were forced into hiding after a mob of over 50 people, galvanized by Kwok’s calls to “kill cheaters,” arrived via bus in front of their Texas home, prompting police intervention.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


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