The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a federal agency that enforces the law against market manipulation, reported last month that it has charged three media companies that are part of a disinformation network linked to former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui. According to an SEC press release, the charges involve illegal cryptocurrency sales:
September 13, 2021 The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged New York City-based GTV Media Group Inc. and Saraca Media Group Inc., and Phoenix, Arizona-based Voice of Guo Media Inc., with conducting an illegal unregistered offering of GTV common stock. The SEC also announced charges against GTV and Saraca for conducting an illegal unregistered offering of a digital asset security referred to as either G‑Coins or G‑Dollars. The respondents have agreed to pay more than $539 million to settle the SEC’s action.
According to the SEC’s order, from April through June 2020, the respondents generally solicited thousands of individuals to invest in the GTV stock offering. During the same period, GTV and Saraca solicited individuals to invest in the digital asset offering. The order finds that the respondents disseminated information about the two offerings to the general public through publicly available videos on GTV’s and Saraca’s websites, as well as on social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter. Through these two securities offerings, whose proceeds were commingled, the respondents collectively raised approximately $487 million from more than 5,000 investors, including U.S. investors. As stated in the order, no registration statements were filed or in effect for either offering, and the respondents’ offers and sales did not qualify for an exemption from registration.
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GTV Media Group, Saraca Media Group, and Voice of Guo Media are part of a disinformation network pushing anti-Chinese government propaganda and US election and Covid-19 falsehoods. The network was set up by exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon who in 2019 was paid at least $1 million for “strategic consulting services” by Guo Media, another organization part of the same network.