This Is the Very Expensive Yacht Steve Bannon Got Arrested On

It reportedly belongs to a Chinese fugitive.

Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon in Paris, France, last year.Eliot Blondet/AP

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On Thursday morning, federal agents arrested Steve Bannon off the coast of Connecticut on a 150-foot yacht named “Lady May,” charging him with defrauding hundreds of thousands of people who donated more than $25 million to fund a private wall along the US-Mexico border. 

Lady May has been touted has one of the world’s most sophisticated superyachts and is currently on sale for $27.9 million. The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that it belongs to Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese businessman.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A listing from Moran Yacht & Ship calls Lady May “innovative in every sense of the word” and boasts that it won “a succession of Superyacht awards in 2015.” Boat International reported in 2015 that Neville Crichton, a businessman and yacht racer originally from New Zealand, conceived of Lady May as a slightly bigger version of another yacht named Como. But, Crichton said, “it was the height of the global financial crisis and even though Australia came through that pretty well, I just wasn’t excited.” A year later, Dubois Naval Architects came up with a new design that was more than just a stretched-out ComoThat yacht, Lady May, now belongs to Guo.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Bannon has worked for Guo, who sometimes goes by the name Miles Kwok, since shortly after his ouster from the White House three years ago. Guo, a reported billionaire, is one of China’s most-wanted fugitives. Chinese authorities have charged him with bribery, fraud, and money laundering—similar to the fraud and money laundering charges Bannon now faces. He denies the allegations, saying they result from his criticism of the Chinese government.

Guo has helped bankrolled Bannon’s efforts to attack China and paid Bannon $1 million for work between 2018 and 2019, Axios reported last year. But those efforts are reportedly the subject of an investigation, separate from probe that resulted in Bannon’s indictment. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the New York state attorney general’s office are investigating whether a media company formed by Bannon and Guo, GTV Media, violated securities laws and bilked investors.

Here’s Lady May sailing down the Hudson River toward where Bannon is expected to be arraigned in a Manhattan federal courthouse on Thursday:

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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