(PatriotWise.com)- In an attempt to compel him to register as a foreign agent, on Tuesday, the Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against casino magnate Steve Wynn.
The DOJ complaint accuses Wynn of lobbying the Trump administration in 2017 on behalf of China and China’s Ministry of Public Security Vice-Minister, Sun Lijun, to get a Chinese businessman living in New York deported back to China where he was charged with corruption.
According to the Justice Department, Wynn made the request directly to then-President Trump both in person and over the phone and had multiple discussions with senior White House officials about organizing a meeting between the Trump administration and Chinese government officials, including Sun Lijun.
The lawsuit alleges that Trump told Wynn he would look into the matter. Ultimately, however, nothing came of Wynn’s efforts.
At the time this lobbying took place, Steve Wynn was serving as the finance chair for the Republican National Committee.
Wynn’s attorneys, however, disagree with the Justice Department’s “legal definition” of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Attorneys Reid Weingarten and Brian Heberlig said in a statement on Tuesday that the casino mogul was under no obligation to register under FARA because Wynn “never acted as an agent of the Chinese government,” adding that they look forward to proving their case in court.
Although the Chinese businessman at the center of the complaint is not named in the lawsuit, the description in court documents appears to match that of Guo Wengui, the billionaire real estate mogul who fled China in 2014 and is viewed by Beijing as a fugitive.
In its complaint, the DOJ alleges that Wynn acted out of a desire to protect his business interests in China. At the time Wynn was lobbying the Trump administration, his company “owned and operated casinos in Macau, a special administrative region” in China.
The DOJ said over a four-year period starting in 2018, it had repeatedly warned Wynn of his obligation to register as an agent under FARA, but Wynn declined to do so. In court documents, the DOJ argued that Wynn’s failure to register constitutes an ongoing violation of FARA that will likely continue unless the court steps in.