Chinese business man Guo Wengui has agreed to pay around half a billion dollars to the SEC in a settlement over illegal stock and cryptocurrency. The billionaire was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission last year, an investigation that focused on the sales of stock of Wengui’s company GTV Media as well as the illegal sale of cryptocurrencies G-Coins'' and “G-Dollars that were promoted by him.
The media company GTV Media was under investigation by federal and state authorities following a private offering in which the company raised over $300 million. Last year JP Morgan Chase & Co. reportedly froze accounts that were tied to fundraising for the company, and Bank of America also closed accounts associated with the media company.
Wengui’s companies made hundreds of millions of dollars according to the SEC, largely from the sale of stocks and cryptocurrency. The exiled businessman was previously accused of corruption by the Chinese authorities and fled to the US in 2014.
The illegal securities were tied to three of Wengui’s companies - GTV Media Group, Saraca Media Group,Voice of Guo Media, all of which collectively agreed to settle for $539 million.
Richard R. Best, Director of the SEC's New York Regional Office commented on the settlement in a press release:
"Thousands of investors purchased GTV stock, G-Coins, and G-Dollars based on the respondents' solicitation of the general public with limited disclosures. The remedies ordered by the Commission today, which include a fair fund distribution, will provide meaningful relief to investors in these illegal offerings."
The SEC’s official press release revealed that over 5,000 investors were involved in the illegal unregistered offering by GTV Media Group Inc. and Saraca Media Group, collectively raising $487 million.
Sanjay Wadhwa, Deputy Director of the SEC's Enforcement Division noted:
"Issuers seeking to access the markets through a public securities offering must provide investors with the disclosures required under the federal securities laws. When they fail to do so, the Commission will seek remedies that make harmed investors whole, such as an unwinding of the offering and a return of the funds to the investors."
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