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What will become of The Epoch Times with its chief financial officer accused of money laundering?

NEW YORK (AP) — The arrest of an executive at The Epoch Times in a money-laundering scheme this week has drawn attention to a media outlet that has lived largely in the shadows since its founding in 2000 and a transformation during the Trump administration.

Federal prosecutors in New York charged Weidong “Bill” Guan of Secaucus, N.J., chief financial officer of The Epoch Times, of steering at least $67 million in criminal proceeds, much from fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance benefits, to the company, its affiliates and himself. Guan pleaded not guilty but was suspended by The Epoch Times, which agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

The case calls into question the future of a company that was a key online supporter of Trump and spreader of conspiracy theories.


Started first as a newspaper, the company produces news websites and videos, and is now available in 23 languages. Its founder, John Tang, is a Chinese-American who practices Falun Gong, a form of meditation and exercise. The Chinese government has denounced, banned and, according to members, has consistently oppressed and mistreated Falun Gong followers.

While the outlet has sought to distance its operations from the Falun Gong movement itself, the company has said it “sees the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, and the remarkably heroic ways in which practitioners have responded to the persecution, as one of the most underreported stories of the last 20 years.”

It is by no means a one-issue news organization, and the lead story on its website Wednesday was about U.S. political primaries the night before. But The Epoch Times does frequent and tough reporting on the Chinese government; stories on its