US sues casino magnate Steve Wynn over China dealings


Policy

Former Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn speaks during a news conference in Medford, Mass., March 15, 2016. AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn to compel him to register as a foreign agent because of lobbying work he allegedly did at the request of the Chinese government under the Trump administration.

The department said it repeatedly advised Wynn over the past four years to register with the Foreign Agent Registry and is now suing because Wynn refused to do so.

Although the Justice Department has stepped up efforts to criminally prosecute people who do not register as foreign agents, officials have described the case as the first such lawsuit in more than three decades.

The complaint alleges that Wynn, who resigned from his company, Wynn Resorts, in 2018 after several women accused him of sexual misconduct, pressured President Donald Trump and members of his administration for several months in 2017. to remove from the United States a Chinese National who had been accused of corruption in China and was seeking political asylum in America.

It says the lobbying effort was done on behalf of senior Chinese government officials, including Sin Lijun, then vice minister of the Ministry of Public Security, and included conversations over dinner with Trump and over the phone. .

Wynn’s attorneys said Tuesday they would contest the lawsuit.

“Steve Wynn has never acted as an agent of the Chinese government and was under no obligation to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” said a statement from attorneys Reid Weingarten and Brian. Heberlig. “We respectfully disagree with the Department of Justice’s legal interpretation of FARA and look forward to proving our case in court.”




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