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Saturday, July 11, 2020

July 11, 2020
Wengui has repeatedly pushed the theory that the novel coronavirus originated in a Chinese biowarfare lab - including on Bannon's podcast. The pair are pictured on an episode of War Room Pandemic on June 27 - via dailymail

The FBI is reportedly investigating an exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui over his funding of a slew of media projects in the US and his involvement with former White House adviser Steve Bannon.

Sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that FBI agents have been speaking with acquaintances of both Guo and Bannon over the past six months in an effort to obtain information about Guo's activities in the US.

The sources said agents specifically asked about the funding of a media company linked to Guo that hired Bannon as a consultant in 2018.

Guo, a former member of China's Communist Party, fled to the US in 2014 after learning he was wanted for bribery, fraud, money laundering and rape - allegations he fiercely denies.

In the years since, the former real estate tycoon has flooded social media with videos, posts and other broadcasts alleging corruption within the Chinese Communist Party, while reportedly shelling out $100million to investigate its crimes with Bannon's help.

Last month he made headlines when he teamed up with Bannon to fly a fleet of propeller planes carrying banners congratulating the 'Federal State of New China' over New York City.

He's also repeatedly pushed the conspiracy theory that the novel coronavirus originated in a Chinese biowarfare lab - including on Bannon's podcast.

The purpose of the FBI's interest in Guo remains unclear, WSJ reported, noting that some of the people interviewed said the US Attorney's offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn were involved in the probe.

A lawyer for Guo told the outlet that the FBI has not been in contact with his client.

'The FBI has never reached out to Mr. Guo or his colleagues about any of these matters,' the lawyer said.

'Mr. Guo is honored to have the freedom in the United States working alongside others to eliminate the Chinese Communist Party and free his fellow countrymen in China.'

A spokeswoman for Bannon offered a similar message, saying: 'Neither Steve or any of his affiliates have been contacted by the FBI about anything, let alone this matter.'

Guo and Bannon began working together after Bannon left the White House in August 2017.

A contract obtained by Axios last fall revealed that Guo's company, Guo Media, hired Bannon for 'strategic consulting services' related to his investigation into the Chinese Communist Party.

Under that year-long contract, Bannon received $1million from an unidentified source, WSJ reported.

A second $1million contract, which was not signed at the time that Axios obtained it, was slated to start in August 2019.

A person familiar with Bannon's activities told WSJ that his contract was not renewed after the first year.

'Mr Bannon and Mr Guo have worked together on fighting the [Chinese Communist Party] and also on setting up a media and technology distribution platform that breaks through the firewall directly to the Chinese people in China and across the globe,' the person said.

WSJ obtained court documents that showed Guo previously used a third party contractor based in Hong Kong called ACA Capital to pay $1million to a contractor, Virginia-based research firm Strategic Vision, in January 2018.

Sources told the outlet that FBI agents had been asking associates of Guo and Bannon whether they knew of ACA or its owner at the time, William Je.

Bannon and Guo reportedly bonded over their shared disdain for the Chinese Communist Party, with Bannon once describing himself as the government's 'public enemy #1'.

According to his contract with Guo Media, Bannon was enlisted to help with 'introducing the Company to media personalities' given his prominent, albeit controversial, position in the industry.

Bannon has appeared in several of Guo's social media videos denouncing the Chinese Community Party, including one in June when they flew banners over New York City.

The banners were part of a Bannon and Guo's campaign to create a 'New Federal State of China' and flew over the Big Apple on June 3, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre.

The men appeared together on a livestream from a boat in New York Harbor in front of the Statue of Liberty and declared the Chinese government illegitimate.

'From today the Chinese Communist Party will no longer be the lawful government of China,' Guo said in the video.

'I'm here to tell everybody that loves peace, law, humanitarian — we're going to end the Communist Party once and for all. We got hundreds of countries of support.'

The bizarre stunt sparked confusion among New York City residents who questioned where they came from and the message they were trying to send.

Despite his outward contempt for the Chinese Communist Party, some have raised concerns that he could actually be working for the government.

Strategic Visions, the research firm Guo Media hired in 2018, accused him of being a 'dissident hunter' in an ongoing legal battle over the contract between the companies.

The firm made the claim in court documents after Guo instructed it to investigate people he said were tied to top officials in the Chinese Communist Party.

Strategic Vision tried to subpoena Bannon to testify about his relationship with Guo in that case.

Meanwhile, China has repeatedly demanded that Guo be extradited back to the US to face the mountain of charges against him there.

The FBI blocked two Chinese agents from arresting Guo on US territory in 2017, WSJ reported.

The outlet cited sources who claimed the FBI was at the time attempting to recruit Guo as an informant, but the efforts proved unsuccessful.

A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment when approached by WSJ about the purported investigation into Guo's US activities.


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