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Chinese businessman Guo Wengui appeals bail denial in fraud case

2023-05-04T20:54:18Z

Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese businessman with ties to former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon, sits as he appears on charges of leading a complex conspiracy to defraud Guo’s online followers out of more than $1 billion at a courthouse in New York, U.S., March 15, 2023 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg/File Photo

An exiled Chinese businessman charged by U.S. prosecutors with leading a more than $1 billion fraud on Thursday appealed a judge’s order that he remain in jail pending trial, court records showed.

Guo Wengui, once a business associate of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon, was arrested in March.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan say he promised followers “outsized” investment returns but diverted much of their money to fund lavish lifestyles for himself and his family.

Guo pleaded not guilty to 11 charges including securities fraud, wire fraud and concealing money laundering.

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres last month rejected a proposed $25 million bail package, saying prosecutors had shown it was likely Guo was a serious flight risk and would pose a risk of economic harm to the community if released.

The 52-year-old defendant, whose other names include Ho Wan Kwok and Miles Kwok, is a prominent critic of China’s Communist Party. He left China in 2014 during an anti-corruption crackdown under President Xi Jinping.

Bannon was arrested in a 2020 fraud case while aboard Guo’s yacht. Trump later pardoned Bannon.