How a renegade Chinese billionaire became a center of D.C. intrigue - 2019-06-07
A billionaire at the center of U.S.-China tensions is waging a mysterious legal battle against two D.C. conservatives over a private espionage deal gone bad. The fight touches on a pair of think tanks, a senator's widow and the capital's tight-knit group of China hardliners, adding a new chapter to an international saga that has divided the Trump administration and the president's external allies.
It began when a firm tied to the billionaire, real estate magnate Guo Wengui, allegedly hired a private intelligence firm to dig up dirt on Chinese nationals — including their bank records, porn habits and any illegitimate children — then sued, saying the firm failed to deliver. In turn, the intelligence firm has claimed Guo's side gave it a thumb drive loaded with sophisticated malware and that he sought information on people whose records were deemed sensitive by the U.S. government.
The ongoing suit, the details of which are reported here for the first time, deepens the already considerable mystique surrounding the billionaire businessman. An ally of Steve Bannon's and a fugitive from Chinese authorities, Guo now lives in New York. His presence in the U.S. has exacerbated tensions between China's ruling Communist Party and the administration of President Donald Trump.