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US Justice Department Sues Las Vegas Casino Mogul Steve Wynn

  • Written By Samantha Browne
  • Edited
  • Reading 2 minutes

Steve Wynn, one of the country’s most powerful casino moguls, has been charged by the Justice Department. The lawsuit wants him to register as a foreign agent for lobbying work he allegedly did on behalf of China during Trump’s presidency.

According to the lawsuit, in 2017, Wynn allegedly pressed then-President Donald Trump and others in his administration to express a request from Beijing to return Guo Wengui, a Chinese businessman and prominent critic of the Chinese Communist Party. The businessman who remains anonymous in the lawsuit had reportedly sought political asylum in the United States after leaving China in 2014.

Wynn’s firm owned and operated casinos in Macau, a special administrative area of the People’s Republic of China, during the period when he engaged in this behavior. He allegedly cooperated at the PRC’s request to preserve his Macau commercial interests.

He allegedly participated in these efforts at the request of Sun Lijun, then-Vice Minister of the MPS, and he had many contacts with the then-President, senior White House, and National Security Council officials about organizing a meeting with Sun and other PRC government officials.

For these actions, the Justice Department has repeatedly pushed Wynn to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Each of those times, he has refused. This is what prompted the lawsuit.

One of A Kind

As many officials have pointed out, the Justice Department’s move is out of the ordinary. This marks the first time it has taken such action in more than 30 years.

“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.”

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

According to Wynn’s attorneys, he has never worked as a Chinese government agent and hence is exempt from the Foreign Agents Registration Act. They also indicated that they disagreed with the Justice Department and that they intend to prove his case in court.

Wynn has had his share of bad press in the past. In 2018, he resigned as chairman of Wynn Resorts and chairman of the Republican National Committee’s finance committee following sexual misconduct allegations. The accusations were also refuted.

Samantha has a passion for all things casino, especially for the development in new slots games and technology. She has a background in psychology and loves to study strategies behind gambling in her spare time.