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US – US Department of Justice files case against Steve Wynn

By - 18 May 2022

The US Department of Justice has launched legal proceedings against Steve Wynn, the founder and former owner of Wynn Resorts, claiming he contacted then US-President Donald Trump to relay China’s suggest that a Chinese businessman who had taken political asylum in the United States be forced from the country.

In a statement the Department of Justice said it was seeking to compel Wynn to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara) as the agent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and a senior official of the PRC’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS). The complaint says that Wynn tried to ‘convey the PRC’s request to cancel the visa or otherwise remove from the United States a Chinese businessperson who left China in 2014, was later charged with corruption by the PRC and sought political asylum in the United States.’

Assistant attorney general Matthew Olsen of the justice department’s national security division, said: “The filing of this suit – the first affirmative civil lawsuit under Fara in more than three decades – demonstrates the department’s commitment to ensuring transparency in our democratic system. Where a foreign government uses an American as its agent to influence policy decisions in the United States, Fara gives the American people a right to know.”

It is believed to referring to Chinese businessman Guo Wengui.

The complaint alleges that Wynn engaged in these efforts at the request of Sun Lijun, then-vice minister of the MPS. “Wynn conveyed the request directly to the then-president over dinner and by phone, and he had multiple discussions with the then-president and senior officials at the White House and National Security Council about organizing a meeting with Sun and other PRC government officials. Wynn acted at the request of the PRC out of a desire to protect his business interests in Macau.”

Wynn’s lawyers Reid Weingarten and Brian Heberlig said: ” “Steve Wynn has never acted as an agent of the Chinese government and had no obligation to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. We respectfully disagree with the Department of Justice’s legal interpretation of Fara and look forward to proving our case in court.”

In 2018, Wynn stepped down from his role at Wynn Resorts after allegations of sexual misconduct with members of staff.

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