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Guo Wengui’s chief of staff pleads guilty weeks before US fraud trial



At a sentencing scheduled for September 10, Wang faces up to 10 years in prison. Without the plea, she could have faced life in prison if she was convicted.

Guo Wengui (seated centre) and his lawyer, Tamara Giwa, appear in court in New York in March 2023. Courtroom sketch: Elizabeth Williams via AP

Wang, 45, spoke only English during her plea proceeding, letting the earphones she was provided by an interpreter dangle below her ears as she described her crimes. Wearing jail clothing, she wore leg shackles throughout the proceeding.

She admitted conspiring with Guo and others to commit wire fraud and money laundering from 2018 through March 2023 by giving false information to induce victims to send money through entities and organisations including Guo’s media company, GTV Media Group Inc, and his so-called Himalaya Farm Alliance and the Himalaya Exchange, in return for stock or cryptocurrency.

Prosecutors say hundreds of thousands of investors were convinced to invest more than US$1 billion into entities Guo controlled.

US court orders Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui to face fraud indictment

According to a charging document, Wang on June 5, 2020, authorised a wire transfer of US$100 million from GTV’s parent company, Saraca Media Group Inc to a high-risk hedge fund for the benefit of Saraca and its ultimate beneficial owner, Guo’s son.

Prosecutors said the US$100 million consisted of investor funds obtained through fraudulent claims.

During her plea, Wang said she “knew what I was doing was wrong”. She added: “I take full responsibility and I’m very sorry for my actions, your honour.”

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon greets fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui before introducing him at a news conference in New York in November 2018. Photo: AFP

Guo was once believed to be among the richest people in China. In 2014, he left during an anti-corruption crackdown led by President Xi Jinping that ensnared people close to Guo, including a top intelligence official.

Since then, he has been highly sought by that nation’s government, relying on the US for protection as Chinese authorities accused him of rape, kidnapping, bribery and other offences.

He has long argued that the those claims were false, saying they were meant to punish him for publicly outing corruption there and criticising key Communist Party figures.

As he lived in New York as a fugitive he became an outspoken critic of the ruling Communist Party and developed a close relationship with Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former political strategist.

Guo and Bannon in 2020 announced the founding of a joint initiative they said was aimed at overthrowing the Chinese government

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