Firms linked to fugitive Chinese billionaire received SEC settlement of $ 539 million

Fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, seen here giving a press conference in November 2018 in New York City.

Fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, seen here giving a press conference in November 2018 in New York City.
Photo: Don Emmert / AFP (Getty Images)

The Securities and Exchange Commission penalized companies linked to Guo Wengui, the fugitive Chinese billionaire who fled the country in 2014 and has since enjoyed several prominent members of the right personalities in the United States, to the tune of more than half a billion dollars.

In a Press release, the SEC announced that it had reached a settlement with three media companies related to Guo – GTV Media Group Inc., Saraca Media Group Inc. and Voice of Guo Media Inc. protection laws while soliciting investments of more than 5,000 people. The SEC also accused GTV and Saraca of promoting another illegal unregistered offer of a “digital asset called G-Coins or G-Dollars.” According to the SEC, although companies have continuously promoted an online platform where the two cryptocurrencies could be used for transactions, promising “a likelihood of significant returns,” neither of them ever cared. to develop it. Regulators also claimed that the companies never made various mandatory disclosures to the SEC or to the public.

The proceeds of the two efforts were mixed, the SEC wrote, and amounted to approximately $ 487 million. In June 2020, according to the settlement, Saraca transferred $ 100 million of the stock offering to a hedge fund that invested $ 30 million in currency speculation; the fund has since suffered a loss of $ 29.2 million on that bet.

According to the Wall Street newspaper, after some of the company’s investors came to believe that the three companies were fraudulent, Guo’s fan club began to rally outside the houses of critics:

GTV’s fundraising had deeply divided the Chinese diaspora in the United States, with many investors in the company later. more and more convinced that they had been swindled. After some of these people started contacting the SEC and law enforcement, Mr. Guo repeatedly attacked them online, calling them Chinese Communist Party proxies. Mr. Guo’s supporters then began to show up at the homes of his detractors.

While the three companies do not admit wrongdoing in the regulations, according to the Journal, cash totals represent one of the biggest enforcement actions taken by the SEC in this fiscal year (ending September ). The SEC press release does not name Guo.

“Thousands of investors bought GTV shares, G-Coins and G-Dollars based on the solicitation of the respondents of the general public with limited disclosures, ”said Richard R. Best, director of the SEC’s New York regional office, in the statement. “The corrective measures ordered by the Commission today, which include a fair distribution of funds, will bring significant relief to investors in these illegal offers.”

Guo is at the center of a network of marginal media, like GTV, who tirelessly promote him and his worldview—including hoax allegations about novel coronavirus, which he believes the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has deliberately released as a biological weapon, and other Chinese government conspiracy theories.

Guo sought to hide his actual roles from a shady web of media entities who in some cases are only identifiable as related to him because he has publicly indicated so. The offers also allegedly implied a poor financial stance which raises eyebrows. For example, the Wall Street Journal Previously reported that investors in the GTV offering were invited to send funds to Voice of Guo Media, who would then invest them in GTV on their behalf.

Since moving to the United States he has become a social media powerhouse member targeting of the Chinese diaspora and welcomed the influential American right, as former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, former executive chairman of the far-right store Breitbart. (When Bannon was stopped in August 2020 for his alleged role in a plan to trick Trump supporters with a fake GoFundMe “Build the Wall” he was on board Guo’s yacht.) -President, he did it to promote GETTR, a social media network apparently started at least in part with funding from Guo’s family foundation.

While GETTR originally served as a kind of clearinghouse for anti-CPC content and its promotional advertising was covered with the logos of GTV entities, Guo announced in late June that the site’s servers would be wiped out. content and existing users, according to Politico. A few days later he relaunched as freedom of speech paradise for Trump supporters. It was quickly attacked by pirates, and he has mostly been in the news lately after his almost total lack of moderation flooded him with hentai, Pro-islamic state propaganda and child sexual abuse material. According to Vice, new user registrations had slowed by the end of August, while many of the larger GETTR accounts, like that of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, artificially inflated subscriber numbers. Only 55,000 of GETTR’s 1.5 million users posted more than 10 times, Vice wrote, and many of them were spambots.

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