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U.S. accuses casino tycoon Wynn of acting as Chinese agent

Stock Markets May 18, 2022 05:25AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: 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 2/2

By Rami Ayyub

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday sued Steve Wynn, the former CEO of Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), to compel him to register as an agent of China and accused him of lobbying then-President Donald Trump at Beijing's behest in 2017.

Wynn's lawyers denied the allegations, saying he had never acted as an agent of the Chinese government and "had no obligation to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act" (FARA).

From at least June through August 2017, Wynn contacted Trump and members of his administration to convey a Chinese request that Trump cancel the visa of a Chinese businessperson who had sought asylum in the United States, the department said.

The department's civil suit alleges it had advised Wynn in 2018, 2021 and April 2022 to register as an agent of China under FARA but he declined to do so. Wynn stepped down as Wynn Resorts CEO in early 2018.

"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," said Matthew G. Olsen, assistant attorney general for the department's national security division.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It seeks a declaratory judgment that Wynn has an obligation to register under FARA.

Wynn's lawyers, Reid Weingarten (NYSE:WRI) and Brian Heberlig, said they disagreed with the department's legal interpretation of FARA and looked forward to proving their case in court.

In a statement, the Justice Department alleged that Wynn acted at Beijing's request "out of a desire to protect his business interests in Macau," where Wynn Resorts operates a luxury hotel and casino.

Wynn conveyed the requests to cancel the businessperson's visa to the Trump administration on behalf of Sun Lijun, a former vice minister in China's Ministry of Public Security, the statement said.

It did not name the Chinese businessperson in question, but said the individual left China in 2014 and was later charged with corruption by Beijing.

Wynn conveyed Beijing's request to Trump over dinner and by phone, and had multiple discussions with senior White House and National Security Council officials about organizing a meeting with Sun and other Chinese officials, the department said.

U.S. accuses casino tycoon Wynn of acting as Chinese agent
 

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Comments (7)
Alvin Tostig
Alvin Tostig Jun 09, 2022 9:18AM ET
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You so business with China they will own your soul. Poor Steve is just a pawn now.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi May 18, 2022 7:21AM ET
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Friends of The Donald doing something shady?  why that's just shocking.....
taylor jason
taylor jason May 18, 2022 6:57AM ET
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Steve "china" wynn
gab nea
gab nea May 18, 2022 5:47AM ET
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the dirt on trump just keeps on coming!
taylor jason
taylor jason May 18, 2022 5:47AM ET
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to bad they will never catch him. good thing Washington isn't know for their intelligence
Corey DeLaplain
SniperSam May 18, 2022 5:43AM ET
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What a joke to accuse him, when in reality the entire current presidential admin should all be registering as agents of China and certified Marxists as well!
gab nea
gab nea May 18, 2022 5:43AM ET
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some people only like America when a dictator wannabe is in office, what a downfall for a major party, sad!
humayoun nabi
humayoun nabi May 18, 2022 12:41AM ET
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Steve Wynn Great person and God father of Macau.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi May 18, 2022 12:41AM ET
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"God father of Macau."  -- we both know the real godfather of Macau was Stanley Ho, just ask any Triad member
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp May 17, 2022 8:53PM ET
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I would be shocked if i saw a story of prosecution involving a Democrat. Apparently all Democrat politicians are honest.
Tyrone Jackson
Tyrone Jackson May 17, 2022 8:53PM ET
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Exactly- abc agency all corrupt
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi May 17, 2022 8:53PM ET
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you tell me, The Donald was in charge 2017-2021, how many democrats were prosecuted by his AG/DOJ?
 
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