Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tom Phillips - China chases billionaire who threatens 'explosive' allegations against elite

A flamboyant Chinese billionaire known for his love of supercars and social media has claimed he is the victim of a political witch hunt after he threatened to lift the lid on “explosive information” about corruption at the top of Chinese politics. On Wednesday China’s foreign ministry confirmed that, at Beijing’s request, Interpol had issued a red notice for the arrest of Guo Wengui, a 50-year-old tycoon who had in recent months taken the highly unusual step of speaking out about alleged cases of corruption involving the relatives of senior leaders.

Lu Kang, a foreign ministry spokesperson, described Guo as a “suspect” but offered no further details.  But citing anonymous sources, the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based newspaper to which Beijing often hands politically sensitive scoops, claimed the billionaire was wanted for allegedly paying a 60m yuan (£6.8m) bribe to former spy chief Ma Jian, one of the most powerful victims of President Xi Jinping’s high-profile war on corruption. 

Guo rejected those claims on Wednesday, in an interview with the Chinese language service of Voice of America, claiming he was being targeted as part of a cover-up attempt. The billionaire, who has aired his as yet unproven allegations on his Twitter account and in a succession of recent interviews, accused Beijing of trying to silence him with “terror” tactics.

“I’m greatly encouraged by the arrest notice. At least it will make people understand the true nature of my case,” he said. “If there was no such thing as corruption in China, the government wouldn’t become scared and frightened of me speaking the truth.” In a brief message to the Associated Press, Guo added: “It’s all lies, all threats. It shows they are scared of me leaking explosive information.”.. read more: