Sunday, July 21, 2024

Epoch Times CFO May Have Laundered Millions Through Shen Yun Dance Troupe and Conspiracy Fueled Chinese TV Channel



I told you a couple of weeks ago, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York has charged the chief financial officer of the Epoch Times with trying to launder $67 million.

Weidong Guan, a/k/a “Bill Guan,” the Chief Financial Officer of the Epoch Times, allegedly used the right wing conspiracy-based website “in a transnational scheme to launder at least approximately $67 million of illegally obtained funds to benefit himself and the media company.”

Great. So where did the money go? I can tell you one thing: Guan apparently used the Shen Yun dance company — that group you see advertised every year with bright costumes and sets — and cleaned their clothes, so to speak, with at least $14 million.

Guan runs the Epoch Times website and media company as a 501 c3 charity. The government will spend a lot of time studying the Epoch TImes Association’s tax filings to figure out where the $67 million went and what it what used for.

On the Epoch Times’s Form 990 for 2020, the picture becomes clear. The Epoch Association donated $3 million to Shen Yun Performing Arts Center in Cuddeback, New York. Then, on the 2021 Form 990, Shen Yun got another $10.4 million.

I always wonder when I see those beautiful TV Shen Yun TV ads, and subway posters: Where do they get the money for all this promotion? And the production, with its extravagant elements rivaling the Met Opera?

Now, I think, we know. Guan has literally danced away with the money.

That’s not all. In 2022, Epoch Times Association also donated a massive $41 million to the Universal Communications Network on West 28th St. They have the same address as Epoch Times. Universal Communications is also known as New Tang Dynasty, a TV channel that’s like a conspiracy theory PBS for adherents of Falun Gong, a Chinese dissident organization considered by many to be a cult.

Epoch, New Tang Dynasty aka Universal, and Shen Yun are all basically the same thing, all connected to Falun Gong.

Universal Communications aka New Tang didn’t receive just that $41 million. On the 2021 Form 990, Epoch Times gave them another $8.3. In 2020, Epoch gave them just over $1 million. So that’s over $50 million in two years. That’s a lot of money for one TV channel that, according to reports, spreads conspiracy theories about vaccines and perpetuates Q’Anon. (You can read all about them on Wikipedia.)

All roads on the tax returns for these groups lead back to Cuddeback, New York. That’s where Shen Yun is officially headquartered, although no one answers the phone or takes messages. When I called their 800 number, I was told it was just for ticket sales and no one there knows anything about them.

Shen Yun itself is run as a 501 c3 non profit. In 2022, they claimed $228 million in net assets. In Cuddeback, in addition to the Shen Yun Performing Arts Center, they also run a temple, a college, and an academy of the arts– all of which are tied up in their financial ball.

Curiously, Falun Gong doesn’t seem too happy about Guan exposing them with the $67 million scheme splashed everywhere. Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi is already trying to distance himself from Guan. He wrote in the Epoch Times this week:

“The trouble that the practitioner-founded media company is now facing mainly owes to practitioners not doing well, though factors from other dimensions are also at work behind the scenes. You were thinking that it’s hard to fight the CCP’s persecution without funds, and wanted to make money for this cause; and that the U.S. government would be understanding if something wasn’t handled quite right. But that was your own thinking. You thought that it would be justifiable since you were using that money not for other ends but to fight the persecution, given that live organ harvesting is happening and people are dying from the persecution every single day. But you mustn’t forget that Dafa practitioners need to always act with integrity, or there will be problems.”

Good luck getting out of that one.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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