CRIME

Chinese online celebrity Guo Meimei formally charged with running an illegal casino

Guo became notorious after she claimed to work with the Red Cross and posted pictures of herself flaunting her luxury lifestyle

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 May, 2015, 1:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 May, 2015, 8:41am

Chinese Internet celebrity Guo Meimei has been formally charged with running an illegal casino, Xinhua reported, citing prosecutors in Beijing. 

The charge was filed in the Dongcheng District Court in Beijing, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said on its official social media account.

According to the indictment, Guo and another suspect Zhao Xiaolai repeatedly organised gambling activities and should be held criminally liable.

Guo was arrested in August last year for allegedly a running casino. If convicted, she and Zhao could face jail terms of between three to 10 years. 

Guo gained notoriety in 2011 when she claimed to be manager of a subsidiary of the Red Cross Society of China and openly flaunted her wealth and extravagant lifestyle on social media.

The scandal dealt a major blow to the reputation of the Red Cross in China, despite it denying any links to Guo. 

The incident and ensuing scandals triggered public concern about embezzlement and improper management of charities.  

The state-backed Red Cross, registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, suffered a massive drop in donations after Guo flaunted pictures of a Maserati car and luxury bags on her social media account.

The socialite continued to share photos of herself at luxury resorts, upscale restaurants and Macau’s casinos with her almost 1.9 million followers on Weibo.

Guo said last June on her microblog she would see whether she "could play a role" in the World Cup as it was about to get under way in Brazil. 

Beijing police arrested her on suspicion of running gambling sessions, engaging in prostitution and posting fraudulent information about her soccer betting website.

State TV aired her confession in August, in which she apologised for her luxurious lifestyle and for damaging the reputation of the Chinese Red Cross, which she had claimed to represent.

Watch: ‘I like to show off’: Guo Meimei confesses to prostitution, gambling charges on state TV