Crypto fraud

Ho Wan Kwok, a close associate to a number of Donald Trump-aligned members of the Republican Party, including Trump advisor Steve Bannon, has been arrested by the Depart of Justice. Kwok, who also goes by the names of Miles Guo and Guo Wengui, is being charged on 12 counts including wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

Allegedly, he is involved in a $1 billion crypto-related scam. Kwok’s “financier” Kin Ming Je, who also goes by the name of William Je, was also charged, though remains at large. According to the US attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Kwok “led a complex conspiracy to defraud thousands of his online followers out of over $1 billion dollars”.

Kwok lined “his pockets with the money he stole, including buying himself, and his close relatives, a 50,000 square foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari, and even two $36,000 mattresses, and financing a $37 million luxury yacht,” the US attorney for the SDNY said. “Kwok lied to his victims and promised them outsized returns if they invested, or provided money to, GTV, his so-called Himalaya Farm Alliance, G|CLUBS, and the Himalaya Exchange”.

Kwok and associates reportedly used a coin called Himalaya Coin, which was associated with Kwok’s cryptocurrency exchange Himalaya Exchange, to steal millions from investors.

“Fraudulent investment scams make victims out of innocent people, ultimately harming the public’s confidence in the integrity of financial systems,” said FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll. “The FBI continues to make investigating complex financial crimes a top priority, and anyone attempting these crimes will be made to face the consequences in the criminal justice system.”

Who is Ho Wan Kwok?

According to the US attorney of SDNY’s press release, Kwok “is an exiled Chinese businessman who has resided in the United States since in or about 2015 and garnered a substantial online following”. “In or about 2018, KWOK founded two purported non-profit organizations, namely, the Rule of Law Foundation and the Rule of Law Society,” the press release continued.

Kwok is known to have maintained relationships amongst influential circles. A report by the New Yorker claimed that, in his application to buy a luxury New York penthouse, he received a personal recommendation from former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Apparently, Blair referred to Miles (Kwok) as “honest”, “forthright” and having “impeccable taste”.

Steve Bannon, who was also arrested on fraud charges back in August 2020, has in the past referred to Kwok as the “Donald Trump of Beijing”. Kwok is an exile from China, having fled back in 2014 after Chinese President Xi Jinping began a crackdown on corruption.

He has since made various accusations against Chinese government officials, including that they have illegitimate children and have laundered large sums of money to overseas bank accounts. Chinese police have asked Interpol to issue a notice for his arrest.

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