Home » Markets » Companies tied to Chinese exile Guo Wengui to pay $539 million to settle SEC action
Companies tied to Chinese exile Guo Wengui to pay $539 million to settle SEC action
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Three media companies tied to exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui have agreed to pay $539 million to settle regulatory claims they violated investor-protection laws when they raised money from over 5,000 investors.
The announcement resolves an investigation that targeted a sale of stock and digital assets last year, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The companies said the money they raised would be used to build a news and social-media platform that would be "the only uncensored and independent bridge between China and the Western world," according to the fundraising documents.
The three businesses—GTV Media Group Inc., Saraca Media Group Inc. and Voice of Guo Media Inc.—settled the SEC’s probe without admitting or denying wrongdoing. The total monetary sanctions include over $480 million that must be repaid to investors and $35 million in fines, the SEC said.
Attorneys for the three companies didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comment.
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Mr. Guo, a former real-estate developer who fled China a few years ago, has portrayed himself as a wealthy dissident of the Communist Party. Once he took up residence in New York, he used a partnership with former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon to build a large online following. In China, he has faced longstanding allegations of money laundering, fraud and other crimes, all of which he has denied, and has applied for asylum in the U.S.