FBI investigating Chinese media tycoon linked to Bannon: report

FBI investigating Chinese media tycoon linked to Bannon: report
© Greg Nash

The FBI is reportedly investigating a Chinese businessman with close ties to Stephen Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and ex-head of Breitbart News.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that an investigation into Guo Wengui, an exiled businessman currently living in the U.S. with citizenship in the United Arab Emirates, has been active for six months and is centered around Guo's activities in the U.S. including his media ventures, to which Bannon is connected.

Of interest to the FBI is the source of Guo's funding, according to the Journal, including funding that he used for a media company that in 2018 hired Bannon as a consultant following his exit from the White House and Breitbart, a right-wing news site. The probe's overall target and purpose was unclear, according to the Journal.

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An associate of Bannon's characterized the pair's work as aimed at politically opposing the Chinese Communist Party.

“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 associate said.

Guo's lawyer contended to the Journal that his client had not been contacted by FBI officials about the probe. Guo is currently wanted on charges of kidnapping and bribery among other crimes in China, which he has denied, and has applied for asylum in the U.S.

“The FBI has never reached out to Mr. Guo or his colleagues about any of these matters,” he said. “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.”

A spokesperson for Bannon also claimed that he had not been contacted by investigators.

“Neither Steve or any of his affiliates have been contacted by the FBI about anything, let alone this matter," Bannon's spokeswoman said.