Stephen K. Bannon was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering on August 20, 2020. The former top advisor to President Donald Trump was on a 150-foot yacht owned by Chinese Billionaire Guo Wengui when he was taken into custody by postal inspectors.
The mega yacht, named Lady May, is worth $28 million according to Hartford Courant. Local residents said it was anchored just off West Beach in Westbrook, Connecticut, on Thursday morning. Bannon was arrested while Lady May was cruising through the Long Island Sound.
Lady May is 152 feet long, and Wengui has put the mega-yacht up for sale for $27.9 million. Interior photos of the impressive vessel, which can host up to 10 guests in its five staterooms, are available via SuperYachtTimes.com.
Boat International calls the Lady May “one of the most outstanding yachts of her size ever built.” According to Burgess Yachts, the yacht’s versatile exterior guest areas include “a spacious aft deck with a fully-equipped bar and a sun deck which can be converted into a semi-enclosed, air-conditioned area.”
On Thursday, Bannon, 66, was federally charged — along with three other individuals, Timothy Shea, Andrew Badolato and Brian Kolfage — with “defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign known as ‘We Build The Wall’ that raised more than $25 million, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Bannon is accused of taking at least $1 million from the fundraiser, which started as a GoFundMe campaign in 2018, and funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, the founder of the “We Build the Wall” campaign. The indictment states that Bannon and Kolfage took at least a total of $1.35 million of the $25 million raised to crowdfund the border wall, while Shea and Badolato face charges for helping cover up the scheme.
Bannon’s Business Partner, Wengui, Is One of the Most Wanted Men in China & A Member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club
Bannon and Wengui, an exiled Chinese businessman who fled to the United States in 2014 and currently lives in New City, were being investigated by federal and state authorities for the $300 million they raised in a private offering for GTV Media Group, according to The Wall Street Journal. People familiar with the situation told the WSJ that the federal probe was being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Securities Exchange Commission and the New York state attorney general’s office.
In the video above, at the 00:57 and 1:37 mark, Bannon and Guo are seen together in June, giving a press conference on the New Federal State of China.
Wengui, who’s one of the most wanted men in China for charges that include bribery, fraud and money laundering, all of which he’s denied, was the public face for fundraising money for GTV Media. Bannon, who’s spent a lot of time on Wengui’s yacht over the past few years, was the company’s director. “Some investors began pushing for refunds after they said they never received official documentation verifying their investments in GTV Media, among other issues that led them to distrust Mr. Guo,” The WSJ reported.
In addition to working closely with Trump’s former advisor, Wengui, who goes by the American name of Miles Kwok, is connected to the current administration through his membership at the president’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago club in South Florida, according to the Miami Herald. Wengui reportedly avoided being deported back to China after the Trump administration learned he was a Mar-a-Lago member.
Wengui Suspected the Chinese Government Hacked His Yacht in July 2017
Wengui, a real estate developer, accused China of hacking the electronics and computerized steering on Lady May in order to threaten and intimidate him. Wengui said of the incident, which was investigated by the FBI, “I hope to let the American people and government know that through this incident there exists a great and real threat from China,” according to The Washington Free Beacon.
“I want every American and law enforcement agency to understand the Chinese government, through using the internet, cell phones, and modern communications technologies can obtain private correspondence and information from each and every American citizen if it wishes, and can do that very easily almost without any cost,” Wengui added.