Guo Wengui: 150ft luxury superyacht, $134m fine and bankruptcy: How a $37m wire transfer keeps an exiled Chinese businessman out of jail

The life story of exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui is nothing short of a thriller drama. From seeking asylum in the United States in 2017 after leaving China to filing for bankruptcy, Wengue has occupied the international media.

However, there is now another twist to the story. According to a report in
Bloombergthe exiled businessman’s infamous yacht burned another hole in his pocket.

“Lady May”, a 151-foot luxury aluminum superyacht is the centerpiece of Gua’s financial battle. The yacht drove Guo into bankruptcy after a New York court earlier this month ordered the exiled businessman to pay a $134 million fine for moving and keeping the yacht out of reach of American creditors, and asked him to return the ship to American waters.

The luxury motor yacht was built by Feadship in 2014. With a beam of 9m and a draft of 2.2m, she has an aluminum hull and an aluminum superstructure.

In 2008, Guo had borrowed $30 million from the lender in the form of a loan which the latter said was never repaid. Its creditors are seeking to collect more than $100 million for the original loan plus unpaid interest and are particularly interested in acquiring the boat, “Lady May”.

It will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take months to bring ‘Lady May’ back to the United States, as she will be transported on a freighter because she cannot cross the ocean.

Now the legal drama has gotten murkier and more twisted. A wire transfer of $37 million apparently came to Guo’s rescue to save him from imprisonment.

Here’s the deal: After a New York court imposed a $134 million fine earlier this year, Guo filed for bankruptcy in February, saying he couldn’t pay the fine, hoping to breathe a little in this financial struggle.


But that hasn’t spared him that legal trouble, as a federal judge on Wednesday considered exposing Guo to potential jail time by letting the New York court’s contempt order take effect. Then a $37 million wire transfer was pledged to replace a 150ft luxury yacht, saving him from jail.

As Guo continues to insist he does not own or control the yacht, an entity owned by Guo’s daughter has offered to transfer $37 million to a neutral third party as a substitute while the boat returns. in US waters.

What started as Guo’s decision to save his prestigious yacht from lenders who were suing him to get their loan back became the main character of the legal drama.

It’s also important to note that ‘Lady May’ is also the same yacht Steve Bannon, former Donald Trump political strategist and Goa alley, was arrested in 2020 on unrelated federal charges.

There’s no doubt that all of this drama could be turned into a thriller as there seems to be more to follow.

Janet E. Fishburn