Steve Wynn Had No Obligation to Register as Chinese Agent, Court Rules
Posted on: October 12, 2022, 03:00h.
Last updated on: October 13, 2022, 05:49h.
Steve Wynn does not have to register as a Chinese agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a federal judge in Washington ruled Wednesday.
US District Judge James E. Boasberg made no determination about whether Wynn had illegally lobbied the Trump administration on Beijing’s behalf, as alleged in a Department of Justice lawsuit. But he said he was satisfied that any contact the casino mogul may have had with Chinese officials ended in 2017. He added that the government has no legal authority to compel Wynn to register retroactively.
“While the goals of FARA are laudable, this Court is bound to apply the statute as interpreted by the D.C. Circuit. And that requires dismissal,” Boasberg wrote.
The DOJ sued Wynn in May, alleging he attempted to influence then-President Donald Trump to deport a Chinese dissident, Guo Wengui, to China.
Dinner with Trump
The lawsuit claimed he held “multiple discussions” with Trump and senior officials in 2017 about Guo. This included discussing the matter directly with Trump during dinner and providing Guo’s passport photos to the president’s secretary.
The DOJ said Wynn exhorted Trump to “cancel the visa or otherwise remove [Guo] from the United States.” At the time, Wynn was finance chair of the Republican National Congress.
Billionaire Guo fled the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 2014 after learning he was about to be arrested on corruption charges. He claims the charges had been falsified because he had blown the whistle on corruption among Chinese politicians.
Wynn was persuaded to conspire against his fellow billionaire by then-RNC Deputy Finance Chairman Elliot Broidy and Sun Lijun, then-vice minister of the PRC’s Ministry of Public Security, according to the DOJ.
Wynn believed his actions would help safeguard his operations in Macau at a time of heightened political tensions between the US and China, the lawsuit stated.
“We are delighted that the District Court today dismissed the government’s ill-conceived lawsuit against Steve Wynn,” Wynn’s attorneys, Reid Weingarten and Robert Luskin said in a statement. “Mr. Wynn never acted as an agent of the Chinese government and never lobbied on its behalf. This is a claim that should never have been filed, and the Court agreed.”
Chinese Official Gets Death Sentence
Last month, Sun, Wynn’s alleged contact in Beijing, was sentenced to death after a court convicted him in China of manipulating the stock market, accepting $91 million in bribes, selling official jobs, and abandoning his post during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Chinese state media accused him of being part of a “political clique” that was disloyal to President Xi Jinping.
Wynn resigned as RNC finance chair in 2018 amid allegations of sexual misconduct against female casino employees, which he denies.
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