A Chinese billionaire who’s accused powerful officials and businessmen of corruption from his self-imposed exile at the Sherry-Netherland is seeking asylum in the U.S.
Guo Wengui — also known as Miles Kwok — has been holed up in his swanky co-op since 2015. With his tourist visa set to expire this year, Guo is now seeking political asylum on the basis that his accusations have made him a political target in China, his attorney, Thomas Ragland, told the New York Times.
“Asylum offers a level of protection that is different from having a visa status,” Ragland said. “Visas can be canceled or revoked.”
For nearly two years, Kwok has been largely confined to his New York City apartment, which is on the market for $78 million. On Twitter and YouTube, he’s claimed that Chinese anti-corruption officials secretly control Soho China, one of China’s largest conglomerates. (Some — but not all — of his claims can be corroborated.)
Chinese media have accused Guo of fraud, money laundering and rape, and he’s been sued for libel in the U.S. In April, Interpol issued a warrant for his arrest at the behest of the Chinese government. That month, one of Guo’s former associates confessed in a television interview that Guo had bribed him.
Guo has passports from several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, and is no longer a citizen of China.
In July, a Hong Kong hedge fund moved to block the sale of Guo’s pad at the Sherry-Netherland, arguing that if he’s allowed to do so, he’s likely to move the money outside the U.S. to avoid repaying his debts. [NYT] – E.B. Solomont