The fugitive tycoon has a checkered history of high-level connections in Beijing and Washington, including a media corporation started with former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon. When federal agents arrested Bannon in August, he was aboard a yacht owned by Guo.
A grand jury indicted Bannon on federal charges of wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering in a fundraising effort to raise support for building a border wall. But the FBI and other authorities also are investigating Guo over alleged financial fraud connected to his GTV Media company, where Bannon is on the board.
The scrutiny hasn’t slowed Guo’s media output. In one video, Guo, dressed in a black shirt and gray suit coat, smokes a cigar while leveling charges against Fu, Chinese dissident pastor Baosheng Guo (who has worked with ChinaAid), and others.
In another, Guo stands in a ballcap and T-shirt in a spacious, gilt-framed room, speaking to the camera in Mandarin Chinese: “We will send at least 100 to 200 comrades to your house tomorrow,” he says, addressing Fu.
These and other video messages also target Tiananmen student leader Wu Jianmin, who was imprisoned in China and later fled to the United States. Guo’s followers surrounded Wu’s Los Angeles home for five days, with his wife and two children trapped inside. Guo has also named Zhang Boli, another Tiananmen leader and now a prominent Chinese American pastor.
Guo has a history of launching intimidation campaigns, some aimed at CCP officials, but Fu and others suspect he may be working as an agent of the Beijing government, or of certain factions within it.
Guo had a notorious falling out with Washington-based Strategic Vision that ended in litigation after he hired the research firm to investigate Chinese nationals he claimed were CCP members. But in court filings, Strategic Vision alleged the Guo research was aimed at uncovering Chinese nationals helping the U.S. government. The firm concluded Guo “was not the dissident he claimed to be. Instead, Guo Wengui was, and is, a dissident-hunter, propagandist, and agent in the service of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party.”
Guo owes his rise in prominence and wealth to a close friendship with China’s former vice-minister of state security, Ma Jian, who fell out of favor with President Xi Jinping and was arrested on corruption charges in 2015. Guo left China during that time. Chinese state media and security officers have since built a case against him, including charges pending for corruption and fraud.
None of that’s kept Guo from building a lavish lifestyle in America, posting tweets and incendiary videos from his 9,000-square-foot apartment overlooking New York’s Central Park. Early in the Trump administration, he became a member of the Trump Mar-a-Lago Club, according to reports. He cultivated business deals with operatives like Bannon, hedge fund manager Kyle Bass, and others with staunchly anti-communist stands.