West News Wire: Wealthy self-exiled Chinese businessman’s attorneys are requesting bail for him two weeks after his arrest, arguing that other defendants accused of massive frauds like Bernard Madoff and Sam Bankman-Fried were released on bail. He established connections with members of the Trump administration, including Steve Bannon.
Guo Wengui is eligible to bail, according to the legal documents filed in Manhattan federal court, just as other wealthy defendants have in the past. They also disputed the prosecution’s assertions that he poses a flight risk, arguing that he wouldn’t abandon his daughter, who is seeking refuge with him, along with his 38-year-old wife.
Madoff was free for several months in late 2008 and early 2009 before he was jailed after he pleaded guilty in a multibillion-dollar fraud. He was later sentenced to 150 years in prison and died behind bars.
Bankman-Fried, 31, was arrested in the Bahamas in December in what a prosecutor called one of biggest frauds in American history. He agreed to return to the United States, where he was freed with GPS monitoring on a $250 million personal recognizance bond after pleading not guilty to charges that he oversaw a massive cryptocurrency fraud.
Guo’s lawyers proposed a $25 million bail package, including $5 million in cash or property, along with location monitoring and home detention at a Connecticut residence where his wife resides. They also said Guo would be subjected to 24-hour surveillance by a security company with at least one guard on the premises at all times.
A spokesperson for prosecutors declined comment Friday.
Prosecutors filed a detention letter at the time of Guo’s arrest, saying he was a serious flight risk and a danger to the public because his crimes, which they said resulted in robbing thousands of individuals of money, were “ongoing and continually evolving.” They said he was likely to flee because of his wealth, strong proof of guilt and ties abroad.
Guo, 54, was arrested on various charges, including wire, securities and bank fraud on March 15 in what was described as a $1 billion fraud. He agreed to be detained at the time, but a lawyer indicated bail would later be sought.
Guo’s lawyers wrote that since immigrating to the United States in 2015, Guo traveled abroad only three times and not once since 2017. They said Chinese authorities would cause him to “face intolerable risks to his life” were he to leave the United States. They also wrote that he was not a danger to others, especially with strict bail conditions.
Prosecutors said the charges stemmed from a complex scheme in which Guo and others lied to hundreds of thousands of online followers before misappropriating hundreds of millions of dollars.