Tron founder and CEO Justin Sun is apparently wanted by the authorities in China—and has been, ever since he “sneaked out” of the country in November 2018, according to a bombshell of a story published today by Caixin, in China.
According to Caixin’s latest report, Sun found out that he was under “border control”—meaning he cannot come and go without permission from the government—in June 2018. Caixin said Sun was unable to travel to crypto conferences there between June 2018 and January of this year, when he made his first international appearance.
The publication said it was unknown how he got out of China, and speculated that he’s used one of the loopholes in the regulation. The report mentioned that Sun had tried multiple ways to lift the ban but to no avail.
Cliff Edwards, the Tron Foundation's director of global communications, who’s with Sun in San Francisco, said late today that the Caixon report was untrue: “He returned from Hong Kong two weeks ago and was there since June 15, so presumably the authorities would have been able to hold him.”
Edwards said that Sun, who is a Chinese citizen, moved to San Francisco in October and has been moving about freely in the world. “He has said that if you’re on a border-control list, you’re notified that you’re the subject of an investigation, and he’s never been notified of any such thing.”
The news late today capped a week of excitement that began when Sun suddenly called off a luncheon with Warren Buffet he’d won at a charity auction for $4.5 million. Sun said that he would be unable to attend due to a flare up of kidney stones. Caixin reported yesterday that, in fact, Sun was being detained in China as part of an investigation into a variety of financial irregularities.
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But that turned out to be untrue: Sun was in San Francisco and live streamed himself on Periscope yesterday.
As it turns out, that was possibly his biggest mistake. There’s an old saying in China that “paper cannot cover fire,” which means that he was likely only antagonizing the government—and Caixin, which is generally considered a reputable financial publication on a par with the Wall Street Journal. Unlike the Journal, however, Caixin also enjoys a special status with the government there, and, by some accounts, can function as an organ of the state.
According to a source close to the situation, Sun is in hot water with the government because he was planning to lunch with Buffet—”America’s #1 capitalist,” the source said. Through the Buffet lunch, “Justin was giving money to American charities—when the Chinese economy is suffering under Trump due to trade wars. You can connect the dots.”
The source added: “So he’s been apologizing to the government, and Caixin. It’s an apology tour.”
Indeed, to make amends, earlier today, Sun published a long and “heart-felt” apology on Weibo, where he revealed that “he has been troubled by illness, obstacles, doubts and suffering.” He said that this is the lowest point of his life and he has been losing sleep and reflecting on what he has done wrong.
That’s in sharp contrast to his statement Tuesday when he denied Caixin’s charge that he has been put onto the border-control list by chinese government and is reportedly under investigation for illegal fundraising, money laundering, gambling and his supposed involvement with Peiwo, an application that distributes pornographic content.
Sun is now supposedly going into a cone of silence and declining interviews, and hoping that his apology has dampened the fire in China a bit. However, the Buffet lunch was simply postponed, not canceled. So far.