NEW YORK — A US appeals court in Manhattan on Wednesday said the exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui should remain in jail while he awaits trial over an alleged fraud that federal prosecutors have said exceeds $1 billion.
The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals said it did not have a “definite and firm conviction” that a trial judge erred in rejecting Mr. Guo’s proposed $25- million bail package.
Lawyers for Mr. Guo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Guo, a critic of China’s Communist Party and business associate of former US President Donald Trump’s onetime adviser Steve Bannon, has been jailed in Brooklyn since his March arrest. His trial is scheduled for April.
Prosecutors have said Mr. Guo defrauded thousands of followers who invested in a media company, cryptocurrency and other ventures, and spent some proceeds on luxuries including a $37-million yacht, a $3.5-million Ferrari and a New Jersey mansion.
Also known as Ho Wan Kwok and Miles Kwok, Mr. Guo has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges including securities fraud, wire fraud and concealing money laundering.
In denying bail, US District Judge Analisa Torres on April 20 said prosecutors had established that if released Mr. Guo would be a serious flight risk and pose a danger to the community, and that there was no assurance he would appear in court.
Lawyers for Mr. Guo argued that he was not a flight risk, and that the Manhattan district court had released the late swindler Bernard Madoff and FTX cryptocurrency exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried on less restrictive bail terms than Mr. Guo proposed.
The case is US v. Kwok, US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 23-cr-00118. The appeal was US v. Kwok, 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 23-6421. — Reuters