Properties owned by fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, including 41 condos and 19 offices in Beijing worth a total of eight billion yuan (US$1.2 billion), will be auctioned by the end of this month, according to a court in the capital.
A judicial auction notice said Guo’s assets – at the torch-shaped, 410,000-square-meter Pangu Plaza commanding panoramic views of the National Stadium and National Aquatics Center which hosted 2008 Olympic Games events – had been forfeited after he fled in August 2014 after his political comprador, deputy minister of state security Ma Jian, was ousted during party infighting.
Guo was the developer of the landmark complex that appeared in the Transformers movie franchise. A property tycoon who hailed from a poverty-stricken village in Shandong province, he amassed a fortune of at least 18 billion yuan, according to estimates by the Hu Run report.
The apartments will be individually auctioned, with the lowest starting price at 46 million yuan and the highest at 83 million yuan, Xinhua reported. Interested buyers need to pay a deposit of more than 9.2 million yuan.
An analyst at the Beijing-based real estate company Syswin told the China Times that some investors would be interested in the plaza’s prime location and the price of the properties in a judicial auction would be lower than market levels, possibly meaning some bargains for buyers.
Guo has been in New York City, continuing to live the life of a high-roller in a luxurious condo he owns overlooking Central Park.
He has also been vocal on Twitter, accusing Beijing of political persecution and violations of human rights as graft-busters in China continue to look into his decades of wheeling and dealing with cadres and other businesspeople.
His Twitter account now has about 475,000 followers, mainly for his comments criticizing China’s economy and politics as well as the tabloid-style revelations about Chinese leaders, their lovers and relatives.
During his years in exile in the US he has revealed what he claims to be evidence of corruption and graft by a number of top party cadres and their family members including Vice President Wang Qishan as well as retired security tsar Meng Jianzhu.
Despite Guo’s claims of being a whistle-blower, the New York Times reported that “most of Guo’s accusations have proved nearly impossible to verify.”
He was listed under an Interpol “red notice” for wanted fugitives in April 2017, which cited at least eight crimes including bribery, rape, duty-related encroachment and fraudulently obtained loans, which Guo has shrugged off.
In April, Chinese police detained the twin brothers who helped Guo Wengui forge what he claimed were “classified” Chinese government documents. Beijing has also vowed to cooperate with US law enforcement agencies to repatriate Guo.
Guo is reportedly a member at US President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida aa well as the Mark’s Club in Mayfair, London.