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Fugitive Chinese businessman convicted of US visa fraud

A Florida jury on Thursday found a fugitive Chinese businessman guilty of two counts of fraud related to obtaining visas he used to enter the United States, marking the downfall of a tycoon involved in both the financial shenanigans in Shanghai as well as with Hollywood filmmaking.

Shi Jianxiang was charged last year in the US District Court in the Southern District of Florida with “fraud and misuse of visas, permits and other documents” related to entry into US prosecutors, who at one point considered him a fugitive from China.

Mr Shi, 57, fled China in late 2016 when a financial group he controlled collapsed in Shanghai in what local authorities described as a multi-billion dollar scam. Shortly thereafter, Chinese authorities wanted Mr. Shi through the Interpol Police Department for “the crime of illegally raising funds by fraudulent means.”

Interpol’s Red Notice was cited by US attorneys in their charges against Mr. Shi, although they said their allegations were not a factor in their prosecution.

investment tip Fugitive Chinese businessman convicted of US visa fraud, Crypto Trading News

Mr. Shi’s lawyers could not be reached by phone or email Thursday, and court documents do not reveal Mr. Shi’s response to the charges.

The Wall Street Journal has followed Mr Shi since the Shanghai financial firm he controls faltered and met him in Hollywood in 2019, where he has become a wealthy film mogul and financier for cryptocurrencies had developed.

Mr. Shi’s now-defunct financial group in China, the Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group, had funded films, including one starring Mike Tyson, Ip Man 3. In the US, Mr. Shi stayed in touch with Mr. Tyson as he tried to secure a film studio but their relationship soured over a cryptocurrency company, the Journal reported.

The indictment states that Mr Shi held passports from China and St Kitts and Nevis and one from the Marshall Islands under the name of Long Niu. The government said Mr Shi had repeatedly traveled to the United States over the years but never used the Marshall Islands identity, which he received to enter the United States in 1996 until China requested his arrest through Interpol, and then did he never left the US

Prosecutors said Mr Shi failed to disclose the Marshall Islands passport in his visa applications to visit the United States in the other passports and the link between his identities was discovered using his fingerprints. In their felony indictment, prosecutors said the charges against Mr. Shi could carry up to 10 years in prison.

Authors: James T. Areddy at james.areddy@wsj.com

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Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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