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The Epoch Times’ Future Is Uncertain Due to CFO Money Laundering Allegations

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The Epoch Times, a publication well-known for its anti-Chinese government reporting and pro-Trump views, has come under scrutiny following the arrest of Weidong “Bill” Guan, the chief financial officer, on allegations of money laundering.

Guan is charged by federal authorities in New York with directing at least $67 million in fraudulent proceeds—mostly from frauds involving unemployment insurance—into the business, its affiliates, and himself. The Epoch Times has suspended Guan and entered a not guilty plea. The publication has promised to assist with the investigation.

An Overview of The Epoch Times:

The Epoch Times was started in 2000 by Falun Gong practitioner and Chinese-American John Tang with the intention of refuting narratives propagated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The outlet’s founders’ hostility to the CCP continues to have a significant impact, even in spite of their claims of journalistic independence. Although the journal covers a wide range of subjects, it places a strong emphasis on critical reporting on China and U.S. politics.

Change and Disagreement:

The Epoch Times changed its stance under the Trump administration and began to openly embrace conspiracy theories, particularly those pertaining to COVID-19 and purported electoral fraud. Funding for this change was substantial, as seen by the sharp rise in revenue from $4 million in 2016 to about $128 million in 2021. Guan’s “Make Money Online” team, which the indictment states was instrumental in the fraudulent activities, is largely responsible for this income rise.

Consequences for the Future:

Even though Guan is the only person facing charges at this time, the indictment implies that other employees of the corporation may have been aware of the unlawful activity, which increases the risk of additional legal consequences. The future of The Epoch Times is questionable, especially in light of the federal authorities’ heightened scrutiny and the waning efficacy of its prior tactics in the rapidly changing social media world.

Despite its prior achievements, The Epoch Times’ influence is still very small, especially in mainstream right-wing media, according to specialists like A.J. Bauer and Howard Polskin. Amidst continuous legal and financial turbulence, the channel struggles to stay relevant and retain its readership.

The media community is intently following The Epoch Times’ handling of this crisis and the implications for its future position in the media environment as the probe progresses.

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