Guo Wengui, a Chinese businessman, is a known critic of the Communist Party, the ruling party in China. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, he recently agreed to pay $539 million to settle the illegal securities offering charges thrown at him.
Guo's companies, which are based in New York and Arizona, have secured $487 million from 5,000 investors who bought stock in GTV Media Group Inc. and a digital asset called G-Coins or G-Dollars.
The Chinese businessman currently lives in New York City as a result of Chinese President Xi Jinping's 2014 anti-corruption crackdown.
Xi has ordered authorities to "hunt down" Wengui and his associates because of the alleged illegal activities they have conducted in the country. Wengui was accused by the government of serious crimes such as kidnapping and bribery.
The U.S. SEC also said that Wengui's companies have failed to register the securities with regulators. The commission added that his companies are selling stock and digital assets through videos on GTV's and Saraca's websites, YouTube, Twitter, and other major social media platforms.
Both GTV and Saraca Media Group Inc agreed to pay $434 million, plus $16 million interest. On top of these payments, the companies were also required to pay a civil penalty of $15 million each.
The SEC said all the involved companies have also agreed not to participate in any offering of digital asset security.
"The remedies ordered by the Commission today, which include a fair fund distribution, will provide meaningful relief to investors in these illegal offerings," Richard R. Best, SEC New York office chief, said.
Guo, who has previously worked as a civil servant and eventually shifted to real estate development, has earned the ire of the Communist Party because of his "revelations" of the Party's alleged corruption on social media. According to his lawyer, he applied for political asylum in the United States way back in 2017.
In 2020, Guo partnered with Steve Bannon, a former political strategist for then-President Donald Trump, to establish the "Federal State of China" which aims to overthrow the Chinese government.
According to Forbes, Guo had an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion in 2015.