After being indicted in March with $1 billion fraud, Chinese billionaire and Steve Bannon associate, Guo Wengui was denied bail on Thursday.
Guo is a Chinese businessman who fled to the United States in 2015 and has lived there ever since. In March, his arrest and subsequent charges by New York’s federal prosecutors stemmed from allegations that he masterminded a scheme to bilk thousands of internet followers out of over a billion dollars.
According to the court decision, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres denied Guo’s bail package because “no condition or set of conditions” would guarantee his return to court or the community’s safety.
Torres has said that Guo has the means and know-how to flee. Guo has had two passports and replicas of a third passport seized by law enforcement, but the judge has stated that an intelligent defendant with lots of money could find a way out of the country without passports.
In 2020, Bannon, once the chief White House strategist and an adviser to former President Donald Trump, was arrested on Guo’s yacht in connection with a fraud investigation. In 2021, Trump granted Bannon a pardon.
Guo would remain in the nation if released on bond, according to his attorney Stephen Cook’s court brief, because the risk to his life is too great for him to leave.
A not-guilty plea was entered by Guo.
They say Guo promised his supporters outsized financial returns and other benefits. The hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulently obtained monies were subsequently misused by Guo to support his extravagant lifestyle.
Prosecutors say Kwok used the stolen money on a 50,000 square-foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari, two $36,000 beds, and a $37 million luxury yacht, among other things.
On Thursday, the judge ruled that Guo’s proposed bail package was “insufficient,” citing his bankruptcy filing and his allegation that he only had $10,000 in assets.
The bail package amounted to a $25 million bond, $5 million of which would be secured by cash or real estate.