HNA Group, the Chinese conglomerate that bought 245 Park Avenue for $2.2 billion earlier this year, has emerged as a central figure in a political scandal in China.
Earlier today, the Chinese government, through state-owned media outlet Xinhua, revealed that Guo Wengui, a fugitive tycoon who has accused top Chinese officials of widespread corruption, is accused of stealing sensitive data regarding 146 HNA Group clients.
Guo, who owns a $78 million full-floor apartment at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel at 781 Fifth Avenue, is said to have colluded with an air traffic control worker and a Hainan Airlines employee to gather information on HNA clients. The Chinese government said that Guo collected flights times and destinations in order to fabricate sex scandals and corruption allegations. Guo also reportedly attempted to collect information on American and Middle Eastern celebrities and political figures. Guo is currently listed on Interpol’s “red notice” for international fugitives.
The Xinhua report contained comments from Guo’s alleged spies. A certain Song Jun said that he first met Guo in 2009. He said that Guo promised to help him migrate to England in exchange for the data.
“[Guo] betrays anyone for money, including the country and his loved ones,” Song said.
Meanwhile, a certain Ma Cong, an employee of Hainan Airlines, admitted to spying for Guo between December 2015 to March 2017. The Chinese government said that Guo used the data to create stories of love affairs between people who traveled on the same flight.
Guo, who also goes by the name Miles Kwok, has accused the top ranks of the Chinese Communist Party of corruption. In spite of detailing his allegations on Youtube and Twitter, which are banned in China, Guo has captured the attention of the Chinese public.
HNA Group is suing Guo in New York. In a summons outlined by Reuters, HNA said that Guo’s “repeated false and defamatory statements” harmed its business reputation.