George Santos wildly claims his arrest is linked to his support of jailed Chinese billionaire Miles Guo

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George Santos has bizarrely claimed that his arrest on federal charges is linked to his support for the Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, also known as Miles Guo.

In a fundraising appeal, Mr Santos tweeted: “I asked questions about #MilesGuo & the DOJ indicts me 5 days later! The fight is real & I’m OVER the target, I need your support to keep me fighting for freedom. #MAGA #TrumpWasRightAboutEverything #StopTheCCP #freeMilesGuo.”

“Chip in today!” he added.

Mr Guo, a self-exiled Chinese businessman and close ally of Steve Bannon, was arrested by US authorities in March on charges for fraud and money laundering. Prosecutors claim he “led a complex conspiracy to defraud thousands of his online followers out of over $1 billion dollars”.

Mr Guo has received vocal support from Mr Santos, who himself was arrested on 13 federal charges on Wednesday, including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and making false statements to the House of Representatives.

The New York Republican held a heated press conference after exiting his arraignment at the federal courthouse on Long Island, calling the probe a “witch hunt”.

“I’m gonna fight my battle, I’m gonna deliver, I’m gonna fight the witch hunt, I’m gonna take care of clearing my name,” he said. He said he wasn’t resigning and was planning on running for re-election.

Mr Santos’s arrest came days after he appeared on a livestream conducted by supporters of Mr Guo.

Mr Guo has worked extensively with far-right broadcaster Bannon, who briefly served as the chief strategist in the Trump White House.

Supporters of Bannon, such as the New York Young Republicans Club, are also big fans of Mr Santos. Mother Jones reported that these connections may be the reason why Mr Santos appeared at a mansion in Mahwah, New Jersey to support a conspiracy theory that Mr Guo has been framed by the FBI on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.

The interview with Mr Santos was shown on a programme shared by supporters of Mr Guo on Gettr – a right-leaning social media platform.

Mr Guo has been known to have influence over the app, according to the magazine.

Before fleeing China as he faced criminal charges in 2014, Mr Guo made a fortune in real estate. After coming to the US, he became an alleged dissident, gaining followers by slamming the Chinese regime as he worked with Mr Bannon.

While bashing the authoritarian Chinese leadership, he also shared conspiracy theories about issues such as the 2020 election and the Covid-19 pandemic.

He has said that China controls pharmaceutical companies, and in 2021, he said that the country was using vaccines to kill Jews. He claimed they were doing so because “the world internet is overwhelmingly in Jewish hands”.

Mr Guo also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to have Donald Trump remain in the White House, according to Mother Jones.

Mr Guo was charged earlier this year for using his supporters among the Chinese diaspora to get investments for a number of mostly fraudulent projects, such as a Chinese language news channel and a cryptocurrency, the magazine notes. He then supposedly used most of those funds to buy luxury goods.

In the interview, Mr Santos said, “I have established after very deep thought and very deep soul searching and understanding of the issue, [that] I will not stop until Miles Guo is free and given an opportunity to a trial”.

While Mr Guo has been denied bail after he’s considered to be a flight risk, he’s not being denied a trial.

“Many may try to silence us,” Mr Santos said. “Many may come after us. But I will not stop this fight.”