I did not use Red Cross money, says scandal girl
Guo Meimei, the young woman who sparked a furore by claiming to be a manager affiliated with the Red Cross Society of China while flaunting her extravagant lifestyle online, says her possessions are not tied to the charity group.
Guo, 20, who previously showed off her Hermes-toting and Maserati-driving lifestyle on Weibo, a Twitter-style microblog service, said she did not use donations intended for the poor and needy to fund her expensive tastes. She made her comments in an interview on Wednesday with economist Larry Lang for Larry Lang Live, a satellite news programme. Only two of the Hermes bags are authentic: one belongs to her mother, and the other was from Wang Jun, a Shenzhen real estate entrepreneur whom she called her 'foster father'.
Wang, 42, resigned in June as a board member of Zhonghong Boai Assets Management, a commercial company that organises charity activities on behalf of the society.
The company was one of many found to have had murky deals with a shadowy business arm of the Red Cross society, called the 'Red Cross China Business System', which contracted Zhonghong Boai to market Red Cross first aid vans across the mainland.
'Wang bought me the Maserati,' Guo said. 'A Mini Cooper was a gift from my mum for my 18th birthday.'
Guo said that Wang did not make any profit from his 10 million yuan (HK$12.11 million) investment in Zhonghong Boai, as the company had not opened for business yet.
The money for the Maserati had no links with the Red Cross, Guo said, adding that Wang had planned to withdraw from the company.
She also denied that Wang was deputy head of the Red Cross society. Internet users had suspected she got her self-proclaimed position as manager of the Red Cross Chamber of Commerce through her relationship with the deputy head, whose name was also Wang Jun.
She said she made up the title herself out of vanity after Wang joked over dinner that he could get her a management position at Zhonghong Boai.
The interview comes after the Guo saga seriously tarnished the reputation of the biggest charity organisation on the mainland, sparking allegations of corruption within the group.
Police on July 7 ruled out any direct link between her and the society, but donations have plummeted. Beijing News reported that the Shenzhen Red Cross Society said they received only 100 yuan in new donations in the last month.
After the interview, Weng Tao, the legal representative of Zhonghong Boai, repeated to Southern Metropolis News what he said on July 3, that Wang Jun was Guo's boyfriend.
'Wang was not even that generous toward his own son. It might be a miracle if he were the foster father of Guo,' Weng was quoted as saying.
Guo's mother, Guo Dengfeng, who also appeared in the interview, said she was never short on money while raising her daughter as a single parent.
She said she turned thousands of yuan into millions in a few months by buying and selling shares in 1990.
Guo Meimei intends to seek a career in the entertainment industry.