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Chinese Tycoon Holed Up at Manhattan Hotel Is Accused of Spying for Beijing



For the past four years, Chinese businessman Guo Wengui has lived at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel, New York, where he fires off social media Chinese government.

He said his efforts have rattled Beijing asylum to protect himself. China's hard-liners in the US, including President Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon, have rallied to his side.

Washington, DC. Strategic Vision US LLC, filed in a commercial dispute with Mr. Guo, alleged in a federal court

"Mr. Guo is a Beijing-backed spy utterly lack credibility," Daniel Podhaskie, an attorney for Mr. Guo, said in a written statement.

The origins of the commercial dispute, pending in a Manhattan federal court, go back to January 201

8, when Mr. Guo hired the firm with a contract valued at $ 9 million,

Mr , Chinese Communist Party officials, according to a court document filed by Strategic Vision. He distributed the company $ 1 million to start the project,

Strategic Vision, based in Virginia, is owned by French Wallop, who was married to now-deceased Wyoming Sen. Malcolm Wallop, a Republican. Mr. Guo's representation that he wanted to destabilize the Chinese Communist Party was "in alignment with Strategic Vision's worldview."

Mr. Guo's Lawyer said in a statement that the Wall Street Journal wrote that Strategic Vision what abusing litigation privilege to slander Mr. Guo.

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A lawyer for Strategic Vision, Eddie Greim, said, "Our goal is not to hold Guo Wengui and his network accountable but also to protect China from further injury."

Strategic Vision enlisted investigators who are formerly intelligence or law enforcement personnel to perform the research, according to Friday's filing. The filing said investigators determined the first 15 names provided by Mr. Guo. as "Records Protected" individuals, for whom certain information is not subject to disclosure. Search a designation is used in highly classified and access-restricted government databases, former intelligence official said. The immigration status about such design is often blocked in restricted government databases, and may suggest the person may be a foreigner who is assisting the U.S. government, experts said.

Strategic Vision said it concluded Mr. Guo was seeking information on Chinese nationals.

"Guo never intended to use the fruits of Strategic Vision's research against the Chinese Communist Party," the court filing said. "That is because Guo is not the dissident he claimed to be. Instead, Guo Wengui was, and is, a dissident-hunter, propagandist, and agent in the service of the People's Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party. "

Mr. Guo's lawyer, Mr. Podhaskie, denied the allegations. "Mr. Guo is the most-wanted-dissident worldwide by the Chinese Communist Party, and has received its most outspoken and vitriolic critic since his arrival in the United States.

The Chinese Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Guo, located on the balcony of his apartment overlooking Central Park, hired research firm Strategic Vision in January 2018 to investigate a list of Chinese nationals.


Photo:
            

        timothy a. clary / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images
          

A breach of contract against a strategic vision, alleging he was seeking, according to the lawsuit.

Mr. Guo is a Chinese spy, said in Friday's court filing that he is still in a state of emergency.

Mr. Guo, who has built a real estate empire in Beijing, has said he fled China in 2014 after hearing that a state security official arrives at The Wall Street Journal has reported.

Since then, Chinese authorities have frozen his assets and threatened his family, according to Mr. Guo. Still, he settled at the Sherry-Netherland in 2015, paying $ 67.5 million for the Central Park. He has been applied to Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla.

asylum, Mr. Guo told the Journal he had set aside more than $ 150 million for legal fees to continue his fight against Beijing.

Mr. Podhaskie said in his statement that "Guo's assets in China have been valued at approximately $ 30 billion by Chinese Communist Party officials and Mr. Guo has never been taken out of China or Hong Kong since he began speaking out "against them.

Mr. Guo so has tried to use his money and allies as Mr. Bannon to influence two interlinked groups in Washington that favor a tough stance toward China, Strategic Vision alleged in the filing. Guo and Bannon allegedly discussed ways to provide "large amounts" of think tank and the newly formed "Committee on the Present Danger: China" that the center backs. Mr. Guo to take over the anti-China committee, the filing said.

The Center for Security Policy did not respond to requests for comment. Brian Kennedy, chairman of the committee, said there has never been any donation offered by Mr. Guo to the committee.

Mr. Podhaskie denied those allegations and said Messrs. Guo and Bannon "have a joint mission in regards to China," which is to "get rid of the radical cadre inside the Communist Party."

Mr. Bannon declined to comment.

Write to Aruna Viswanatha at Aruna.Viswanatha@wsj.com and Kate O'Keeffe at kathryn.okeeffe@wsj.com

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