- Warren Buffett’s annual charity lunch has sparked conspiracy theories, public apologies, and arrests on the other side of the world.
- "It has produced a lot of consequences that I completely did not expect," Justin Sun, the crypto entrepreneur who shelled out $4.6 million to dine with Berkshire Hathaway’s boss only to postpone three days before the meal, said in a groveling public apology on Weibo.
- Sun’s rescheduling fueled rumors that he was being held by Chinese authorities over claims of illegal fundraising and other crimes.
- Several executives at Sun’s company, Tron, were briefly detained by Chinese authorities, then released once the lunch was pushed back, according to Bloomberg.
- Here are six things to know about Justin Sun.
Warren Buffett’s annual charity lunch typically consists of a sirloin steak with hash browns, a can of Cherry Coke, and a chat about value investing and the economy.
The billionaire investor couldn’t have imagined this year’s meal would spark conspiracy theories, public apologies, and arrests on the other side of the world.
"It has produced a lot of consequences that I completely did not expect," Justin Sun, who shelled out $4.6 million to dine with Berkshire Hathaway’s boss only to postpone three days before the meal, wrote in a post on his Weibo social media account.
The CEO of Tron, Peiwo, and BitTorrent blamed the rescheduling on a bout of kidney stones. However, Chinese media reported Sun was being held in China over a laundry list of allegations including illegal fundraising, money-laundering, and gambling. He dismissed the claims and broadcast a live video showing he was in a San Francisco high-rise with a view of the Bay Bridge.
Yet hours later, Sun posted a groveling public apology on Weibo. He stated that after a sleepless night of self-reflection, he regretted his "vulgar hype and marketing" of the Buffett lunch and wanted "to deeply apologize to the public, media, leaders, and the related regulatory authority."
Sun blamed his immaturity and "big mouth" for the outsized publicity, pledged to take a step back from the public eye, and promised to "put the interests of the country, sector and the public above anything else." He added that the hype around the lunch "attracted the scrutiny of regulatory authorities" and led to "a much unexpected outcome for me," without elaborating.
The crypto entrepreneur, a protégé of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, appears to have run into trouble with the Chinese government. Global Times, a state-owned tabloid, published an article suggesting he was using the meal with Buffett to boost his profile.
Several Tron executives were briefly detained by Chinese authorities, according to Bloomberg, then released once Sun delayed the lunch. Chinese regulators recently blacklisted one of Sun’s companies, Guangzhou Pei Wo Information and Technology, according to the New York Times.
"Justin Sun’s main crime is probably to have so openly flaunted his wealth," Leonhard Weese, the president of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, told The Times. "The authorities don’t like this kind of personality cult and this money being thrown around."
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