FILE – In this courtroom drawing, Guo Wengui and his lawyer, Tamara Giwa appear in federal courts in New York on March 15, 2023. A self-exiled Chinese man awaiting trial on a $1 billion fraud charge will remain in prison after an appeals panel rejected his request for overturning a lower court ruling that he would flee the country or harm society if released.
NEW YORK, NY (AP) - A self exiled Chinese man awaiting trial on a $1 billion fraud charge will remain in jail after an appeals panel rejected his bid to overturn a lower court ruling that he would flee the country or harm society if he was released.
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Torres stated that she did not trust Guo (listed in court documents under the name Ho Wan Kwok) to obey court orders, if he were released with strict conditions, including GPS monitoring and 24-hour armed security. She wrote that he was a danger to the community.
Guo, arrested in March, pleaded no contest to charges of wire fraud and securities fraud. Prosecutors claim that he fleeced investors with too-good to be true offers, which promised investors outsized profits in his GTV Media Group Inc. media company, G'CLUBS and Himalaya Exchange.
He is accused of using the proceeds from a five-year fraud scheme that began in 2018 to purchase extravagant goods and assets for him and his family. Prosecutors claim he owns a 50,000 square foot mansion, a Ferrari worth $3.5 million, two mattresses costing $36,000 and a luxury yacht worth $37 million.
However, his lawyers claim that he is insolvent.
Guo used to be considered one of the richest men in China. However, he was forced to leave in 2014 after a corruption crackdown ensnared people close to him. This included a senior intelligence official. Chinese authorities have accused Guo rapes, kidnappings, bribery, and other crimes.
Guo said that these allegations were false and meant to punish him because he publicly exposed corruption and criticized leading figures within the Communist Party.
He developed a close friendship with Steve Bannon, the former political strategist of Donald Trump. Guo and Bannon jointly announced in 2020 a plan to overthrow China's government.