A Wall Street Journal expose revealed that a Chinese businessman is under investigation by the FBI after he used funds to bankroll a media company with ties to a former aide to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon.
"Federal Bureau of Investigation national security agents in recent months have asked people who know both men for information on Mr. Guo’s activities, including the source of funds of a media company linked to him that hired Mr. Bannon in 2018 as a consultant, the people said," according to the Journal. "As recently as last week, the FBI met with one person familiar with the companies tied to Mr. Guo, the people said. The probe has been underway for more than six months, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have been involved.
It isn't clear what the interests are of the FBI's but the FBI hasn't reached out to Guo yet, his lawyer said.
“The FBI has never reached out to Mr. Guo or his colleagues about any of these matters,” the lawyer told the Journal. “Mr. Guo is honored to have the freedom in the United States working alongside others to eliminate the Chinese Communist Party and free his fellow countrymen in China.”
Guo once was a property tycoon" while in China but fled the country in 2014 after he was accused of bribery, fraud, money laundering, kidnapping and rape. He has denied the charges.
“Neither Steve or any of his affiliates have been contacted by the FBI about anything, let alone this matter," said a Bannon spokesperson.
"A person familiar with Mr. Bannon’s activities added that the contract signed in 2018, with Guo Media, was for one year only and wasn’t renewed," said the Journal.
“Mr. Bannon and Mr. Guo have worked together on fighting the [Chinese Communist Party] and also on setting up a media and technology distribution platform that breaks through the firewall directly to the Chinese people in China and across the globe,” the person told the Journal.
A New York Times report from 2019 detailed the relationship between the two men.
Axios reported that their relationship escalated to a yearlong million-dollar contract. Bannon promised that Guo Media would then be introduced to "media personalities."