The fugitive Chinese billionaire and Steve Bannon ally behind a pro-Trump social media network now owes owes hundreds of millions of dollars to the federal government, after a new settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Companies owned by billionaire and aspiring media mogul Guo Wengui agreed to pay the SEC $539 million as part of a settlement over illegal stock and cryptocurrency sales, the agency announced Monday. The agreement includes a condition preventing Wengui’s companies from selling future digital currencies.
Lawyers for Wengui didn’t respond to an immediate request for comment.
The settlement represents a significant financial blow to Wengui, who has used his wealth to become intertwined with prominent Trump allies while on the run from criminal charges in China. Wengui is a close supporter of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, a relationship that was highlighted when Bannon was arrested last year on Wengui’s yacht on fraud charges.
Wengui also bankrolled Gettr, a pro-Trump social media network publicly by helmed by former Trump spokesman Jason Miller. While Miller has been vague about Wengui’s involvement in the social network, which launched in July, technical details available online suggest Gettr was created by companies owned by Wengui.
The SEC investigation focused on the sales last year of stock in one of Wengui’s companies, GTV Media, as well as the illegal sale of digital currencies promoted by Wengui called “G-Coins” and “G-Dollars.” Wengui’s companies made hundreds of millions of dollars in stock and cryptocurrency sales, according to an SEC order describing the settlement.
The FBI was involved in an investigation of the GTV Media stock sales, the Wall Street Journal reported in August 2020. Bannon was listed as a company director at GTV Media on fundraising materials, according to the Journal report.