Featured in this article:
  • Steve Wynn was alleged to have acted for China
  • DoJ wanted Wynn on foreign agent register
  • Court says this isn't possible, but DoJ could push for criminal sanctions

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Steve Wynn was alleged to have been a spy for China

Steve Wynn – the casino mogul who owns luxury resorts across America – will not have to register as a foreign agent of the United States after a judge threw out the civil case against him.

Wynn, who owns Wynn Resorts and who was a former Republican National Committee finance chairman, was accused by the US Department of Justice of lobbying for China.

The DoJ sued Wynn in May and demanded a court order force him to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

But a federal judge in Washington has blocked the move, insisting that Wynn does not need to sign onto the register.

“We are delighted that the District Court today dismissed the government’s ill-conceived lawsuit against Steve Wynn,” his lawyers, Reid Weingarten and Robert Luskin, said. “Mr Wynn never acted as an agent of the Chinese government and never lobbied on its behalf.”

Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn and Donald Trump were said to have spoken regularly during Trump’s presidency

What Were The Allegations Against Steve Wynn?

The DoJ lodged the complaint against Wynn in 2018. Its as alleged Wynn lobbied Trump and members of his administration over the course of several months to expel a Chinese citizen from the United States. The citizen had been charged with corruption in China and was seeking political asylum in the US. He ultimately was not sent back to China.

It was argued that the lobbying effort was conducted on behalf of Chinese officials, including the then vice-minister of the Ministry of Public Security, Sun Lijun.

Sun supposedly lobbied Wynn to help get the Chinese citizen’s new visa application denied.

It is claimed part of the lobbying effort was Wynn having conversions with Trump over dinner and by telephone. Wynn also conducted apparently unscheduled meetings at the White House, where the matter was discussed further.

The DoJ said Wynn’s alleged actions were to help his own business interests in China. At the time he ran the Wynn Casino resort in Macau, whose license was coming up for renewal.

What The Court Decided

While the DoJ made the application to sue Wynn this summer, the court decision has only now been made. US District Judge James Boasberg said that Wynn cannot be required to register as an agent of China because his relationship with the country’s government ended in 2017.

Crucially, the judge did not determine whether or not Wynn lobbied on behalf of China – only that a past precedent in DC federal court meant Wynn didn’t need to sign up.

What happens next remains to be seen. The DoJ could push for criminal sanctions against Wynn for his apparent failure to disclose the alleged lobbying. However, this could only be an avenue if the statute of limitations hasn’t expired.

As for Wynn himself, he resigned as chairman and CEO of his casino company in 2018 following a string of sexual misconduct allegations.

The company was fined $20m by Nevada gaming regulators over its failures to investigate sexual misconduct allegations made by numerous employees against its founder.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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