How Many Secrets Do the “Donald Trumps of Beijing” Have?

How Many Secrets Do the “Donald Trumps of Beijing” Have?

Guo Wengui’s American Adventure began eight years ago in a Fifth Avenue penthouse. It has now ended. Guo was detained by the F.B.I. on Wednesday morning. Guo was arrested at the Sherry Netherland co-op on Upper East Side where he had paid sixty-eight million dollars cash to acquire the entire 18th floor. Guo made an unusual foray into Republican politics from this position, amassing wealth and admirers who were close to Donald Trump. He also left behind many intriguing questions as to what exactly he was doing in American politics.

Guo’s true story is not the only one. Guo, a middle-school dropout from Shandong Province was smooth-talking and spent time in prison before he found his way back into the real estate boom in the nineteen-nineties. Guo built an empire of high-end properties, as illustrated by the Beijing-dragon-shaped building. After the death of his Communist Party patron, an obscure counterintelligence chief, Guo fled China. Guo, who was a critic in the Communist Party’s leadership, sought asylum in America and gained Mar-a-Lago membership. This protected him from the powerful conservatives that were trying to take a hardline against China.

Washington Free Beacon Guo was called a “leading Chinese dissident” by Steve Bannon. The former White House strategist also called him the “Donald Trump in Beijing” or the “George Washington for the new China.” In 2020, Guo arrested Bannon on fraud charges. He was in Guo’s superyacht Lady May off the coast Connecticut. Guo, his supporters launched attacks against respected Chinese dissidents. However, he enjoyed the company of Trump allies like Rudy Giuliani and Jason Miller who were present at Guo’s events as well as in his broadcasts.

China experts have been wondering for years about Guo’s activities in China. Is it just an instinctive scramble of a survivor who knew how to use his Beijing strategy to good effect in Washington? He was trying to reclaim power in China by somehow being connected to old friends at the Ministry of State Security China. Is that where all the money came from?

We now have some answers from the Department of Justice. Federal prosecutors have indicted Guo along with Kin Ming Je in an indictment that was released Wednesday. They claim Guo orchestrated fraud that involved more than $1 billion. This enabled Guo to amass hundreds of thousands online followers, many of which were Chinese ex-patriots who believed in Guo’s promises of “taking down the CCP”. Then, Guo solicited investors in various bogus ventures that involve cryptocurrency, clubs and the media. Indictment cites remarkable amounts: investors purchased four hundred fifty-two million USD of stock in Guo’s ventures in a span of six weeks in 2020; investors paid two hundred fifty million dollars to join GClubs. However, the benefits were negligible.

In a statement, Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, accused Guo of “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.” Even in an era of excess, the inventory of Guo’s purported indulgences–a $4.4-million custom-built Bugatti sports car, a sixty-two-thousand-dollar television, and a fifty-three-thousand-dollar “fireplace log cradle holder”–stands out. Guo was not charged and ordered to be held in custody pending the outcome of further proceedings. Kin Ming Je (a person accused of operating behind-the scenes and financing the different ventures) remained at large as of Wednesday.

Even with all of the abuses that were displayed, the basic outline of fraud as outlined by prosecutors has not changed much since “The Music Man”. There will always be flimflammen preying on others’ hopes, but a trial could uncover a far richer tale about Guo’s involvement in American intelligence and politics. Guo’s indictment begins with the following: “HOWAN KWOK” a/k/a Miles Guo’ a/k/a ’Miles Kwok’ a/k/a ‘Guo Wengui’ a/k/a ’Brother Seven’ a/k/a ‘The Principal.

Signs that Guo is fighting or cooperating with the case are the most important things you should look out for. He has fought against creditors and court attempts to control him for years. One case involved a long-running battle for a two-hundred and fifty-four-million dollar unpaid loan. A New York judge accused Guo of having “hidden his assets in a maze corporate entities and with relatives,” and ordered Guo to pay one hundred and thirty-four millions dollars in fines. Guo filed personal bankruptcy and dragged out proceedings.

His followers, some of whom are paid, often harass his opponents to his authenticity and probe his past. Protests were held outside of the residences of Chinese dissidents, who had questioned Guo’s loyalty and accused them of being C.C.P. stooges. During bankruptcy proceedings, he employed that tactic on Luc Despins of Paul Hastings. He sent supporters out to protest outside the home and office with flyers featuring the face of Despins superimposed using a hammer, sickle or blood dripping off his teeth. The protestors even occupied the house of Despins’s third-grade teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for several months. The demonstrations were not stopped by a restraining order. In January, Julie Manning, a bankruptcy judge issued an order barring Guo and his agents from participating in such protests. It also limited the content they could share on social media. Guo is a flight risk because he boasted that he had eleven passports. But it’s unclear if Guo will be freed on bail.

The prosecutors will reveal more about Guo and Trump’s strategic financial dealings. This is a bigger issue. Dan Friedman has compiled a quick inventory of the facts. Mother Jones A reporter, who wrote extensively on Guo’s activities noted that Guo had “spread lies regarding Hunter Biden and helped to finance efforts for overturning the 2020 election and underwrote discredit claims that Covid was a Chinese biological weapon.” The truth of what will come out when prosecutors subpoena financial records and put people under oath. Guo paid who and what. How did social media play in amplifying the lies? COVIDJoe Biden, the 2020 election and Guo? This month, Guo and Bannon established New Federal State of China. They were credited with being a significant sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference.CPAC).

It will be interesting to see what information is available about Guo’s relations with both Chinese and American governments. Last year I wrote a profile about Guo’s role as an occasional source for American diplomats. Federal investigators also treated Guo with mixed degrees of suspicion. These ties may make Guo difficult to prosecute. A former Justice Department official stated that Guo might threaten to disclose secrets about U.S. government interactions. Many who watched Guo’s increasing brazen political activity in Washington wondered why they hadn’t deported him or tried to prosecute him sooner. Bill Bishop (who writes the Sinocism newsletter) tweeted his concern about the indictment. He also asked, “Why is he going after them now?” Judge Lewis J.Liman stated, “The evidence presented at trial doesn’t permit the Court decide whether Guo, in actuality, is a dissident, or a double agent.” . . . Other people will need to decide who the real Guo really is.” He trial might finally be able to answer this question.

Some truths could prove to be elusive. The complexity of this case is evident in the fact that the New York Fire Department reports Wednesday that Guo’s Penthouse at Sherry Netherland caught fire just hours after his arrest. According to the U.S. attorney’s office, an investigation is underway into the cause of this fire. Guo’s path to freedom might not be ended by an arrest. Guo, who broadcast many YouTube videos from his apartment in 2019, lamented the fact that his homeland is prone to fraud cases. He also blamed the Communist Party, blaming them for creating a culture that deceives and propagandizes people and leaving them confused as to what and whom to believe. He said that China believes in conmen. Only conmen can survive.”

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