Guo Wengui Photo: Baidu Image
China's foreign ministry said on Wednesday the Interpol had issued a "red notice" for Guo Wengui, a controversial property tycoon who allegedly fled the country about three years ago.
“We have learnt that the Interpol has issued a red notice on suspect Guo Wengui,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang during a routine press conference in Beijing.
Guo, who was born in 1967 in a village in Liaocheng, Shandong province, ranked 74th on the Huran China Rich List in 2014 with a fortune of 15.5 billion yuan.
He is known to have close ties with disgraced former high-level officials within the Communist Party including former state security vice-minister Ma Jian, and Zhang Yue, a top official in charge of political and legal affairs in Hebei province, according to a report by the Beijing News on Wednesday. They both greased wheels for Guo’s business and provided shelter for him, and in return Guo gave them large amounts of bribes.
Guo also reportedly had connection with Xiang Junbo, former chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, who was put under investigation for suspected severe violations of discipline, according to an announcement by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country’s top anti-graft watchdog, on April 9.
According to a report by Caixin, Guo managed to secure a loan of 3.2 billion yuan in 2010 with the help of Xiang, who was chairman of Agricultural Bank of China at the time. Guo reportedly got the loans by fabricating contracts and using faked financial statements. He then secretly transferred 600 million yuan to Hong Kong via underground banks and used 70 million yuan to buy a villa for himself.
The report also said Guo is suspected of committing multiple crimes, including embezzlement, cheating on loans, illegal purchases of foreign currency, unlawful detention and destruction of accounts.
Using the alias “KwokMiles”, Guo wrote on Twitter Wednesday that he had seen the news that an Interpol arrest notice was issued for him, but also claimed that the Interpol is not a government but merely an organization which does not have “administrative power.”
“Wengui had had no Chinese identity for many years and the contents are all fabricated,” he wrote, “This only strengthens Wengui’s determination to fight against these bad guys until the end. Everything is just getting started!”
According to the Interpol website, Interpol is the world’s largest international police organization, with 190 member countries, enabling police around the world to work together on preventing and fighting crime.
The “red notice” is one of the Interpol notices, and the persons concerned are wanted by national jurisdictions for prosecution or to serve a sentence based on an arrest warrant or court decision.
Countries requesting “red notices” can have them published on the Interpol website, and "if no red notice is published, this is either because one has not been requested or issued for that person, or the requesting country has asked that it not be publicized," Reuters cited an Interpol email as saying.
There was no such notice for Guo Wengui or his alias on Twitter as of Thursday morning (Beijign time).