The US Justice Department claims the former CEO of Wynn Resorts lobbied the Trump administration for China to protect his business interests in Macau.
US.- The US Justice Department is suing casino mogul Steve Wynn, seeking to oblige him to register as a foreign agent due to alleged lobbying for the Chinese government during Donald Trump’s administration. It wants 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).
It’s alleged that “from at least June 2017 through at least August 2017,” Wynn contacted Trump, then-U.S. president, and members of his administration “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”.
The department said it had advised Wynn repeatedly over the last four years to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, but Wynn refused to do so. It claims his lobbying was done on behalf of senior Chinese government officials, including Sin Lijun, the then-vice minister of the Ministry of Public Security, and included conversations over dinner with Trump and by phone.
It’s alleged that Wynn was motivated to protect his business interests in China. Wynn Resorts is the parent company of Wynn Macau Ltd, which operates two casino resorts in Macau. The government in Macau had restricted the number of gaming tables and machines that could be operated at Wynn’s casinos, the complaint alleges, and Wynn also had an eye on Macau’s licence retender
Wynn’s lawyers Reid Weingarten and Brian Heberlig said in a statement: “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.”
US assistant attorney general Matthew G Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division said: “The filing of this suit – the first affirmative civil lawsuit under the Foreign Agents Registration Act in more than three decades – demonstrates the department’s commitment to ensuring transparency in our democratic system.”