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U.S. to appeal dismissal of Chinese agent lawsuit against casino tycoon Wynn

Published 12/09/2022, 07:14 PM
Updated 12/09/2022, 09:22 PM
© Reuters. Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department will appeal the dismissal of a lawsuit against casino magnate Steve Wynn, who it accused of acting as a Chinese agent.

Wynn defeated the lawsuit in October when a federal judge in Washington, D.C., said the casino tycoon could not be ordered to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent of China.

".... the Attorney General of the United States of America hereby appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia from the judgment of this Court entered on the 12th day of October, 2022, granting Defendant's Motion to Dismiss," the Justice Department said in a filing on Friday.

The Justice Department in May sued for a court order forcing Wynn, the former CEO of Wynn Casinos, to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Officials alleged that Wynn had lobbied then-U.S. President Donald Trump on China's behalf in 2017. Wynn's attorneys denied that he was ever an agent of the Chinese government.

© Reuters. Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said in October that, because any relationship between Wynn and the Chinese government ended in 2017, the Republican donor cannot be required to register as an agent. The judge pointed to past precedent in D.C. federal court in making the ruling.

The judge said he was not determining whether Wynn had lobbied on China's behalf. He also said the Justice Department could pursue criminal sanctions against Wynn for failing to disclose the alleged lobbying, if the statute of limitations had not expired.

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