Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, who’s been living in self-imposed exile at the Sherry-Netherland, is ready to take on his enemies. And there are many.
Guo, who has accused government and business figures of corruption via social media, has amassed a $150 million war chest that he said will cover his legal fees and other expenses as he seeks asylum in the U.S. and steps up anti-Communist rhetoric. “Nothing can stop me,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “The U.S. is the last land of justice.”
Guo, also known as Miles Kwok, made his fortune in real estate before fleeing China in 2015. That year, he picked up a sprawling co-op at the Sherry-Netherland co-op for $70 million. The apartment, pieced together out of smaller apartments over the years, has seven bedrooms and 2,000 square feet of terrace space. Last year, he listed it for $78 million with Brown Harris Stevens’ Kathy Sloane, who brought Guo to the co-op two years ago.
But a Hong Kong hedge fund moved to block the sale of Guo’s apartment, arguing that he’d likely move the proceeds out of the U.S. to avoid repaying his debts. The unit is currently off the market.
Guo’s allegations are hard to corroborate — even seemingly small details such as his age. But his accusations could upset China’s planned leadership transition this month.
Last month, Guo said he would seek asylum in the U.S. since his accusations have made him a political target in China.
In recent weeks, his critics have shut down one of his Facebook accounts and interfered with his video broadcasts. “China is at a very dangerous crossroads now,” said Guo, who was set to speak Wednesday at the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based think tank.
The Journal described a man who appears quite comfortable at the Sherry-Netherland pad and in the claims he’s making. “Sipping tea in a long black Chinese gown next to a fireplace in his apartment adorned with a Lego brick model of the London bridge, he challenged his detractors to produce evidence that he is wrong,” the paper wrote.
Chinese officials have dismissed Guo’s claims, and there is a warrant for his arrest. Several subordinates have been detained, and in August, government officials told the Associated Press that it was investigating Guo in 19 criminal cases involving bribery, kidnapping, fraud, money laundering and rape. HNA Group — which Guo has accused of having ties to the Communist Party — has filed a defamation suit against him. A Chinese woman who worked as his personal assistant accused him of rape, according to a suit filed in New York. [WSJ] –– E.B. Solomont