US Sues Steve Wynn, Says Casino Mogul Is Agent of China

Wynn's rep denies he has ever acted as such
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2022 2:45 AM CDT
US Sues Steve Wynn, Says Casino Mogul Is Agent of China
In this March 15, 2016, file photo, former Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn gestures during a news conference in Medford, Mass.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

(Newser) – Casino mogul and GOP fundraiser Steve Wynn is being sued by the US Department of Justice, which says the 80-year-old should register as an agent of China under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The DoJ says that in 2017, Wynn contacted then-President Trump and members of the administration to tell them China wanted a Chinese national seeking political asylum in the US after having been charged with corruption by China to be removed from the country, or to have their visa revoked, the Guardian reports. Wynn is accused of going so far as to pass the Chinese national's passport photos to Trump's secretary, the Washington Post reports.

"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 [Lijun, then-vice minister of China's Ministry of Public Security] and other [People's Republic of China] government officials," says the lawsuit filed Tuesday, which accuses Sun of asking Wynn to make the request. Per the suit, Wynn did so to protect his business interests in Macau, a special administrative region in China. Before filing the suit, the DoJ asked him multiple times to register under FARA and he refused, NBC News reports.

"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,” says a Justice Department official in a statement. “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.” Wynn's rep staunchly denies the accusations. Wynn was still the CEO of Wynn Resorts at the time of the conversations in question; he stepped down in 2018 amid sexual misconduct allegations. (Read more Steve Wynn stories.)

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