Steve Wynn Reportedly Assisted China in Deportation Effort, Hand Delivered Letter From Beijing to President Trump
Posted on: October 24, 2017, 10:00h.
Last updated on: October 24, 2017, 08:47h.
Casino billionaire Steve Wynn allegedly aided the Chinese government in trying to convince President Donald Trump to deport one of its citizens supposedly living in the United States.
In an investigative report by The Wall Street Journal deemed “worthy of a spy thriller,” the media outlet claims Wynn became China’s messenger in relaying a letter to the White House asking for the deportation of Chinese billionaire businessman Guo Wengui.
Guo has been on a self-imposed exile from his native country since 2014. A successful real estate developer and investor, Guo is rumored to have participated in corrupt business practices. He denies any wrongdoing, and has been a vocal critic of the People’s Republic government.
The letter Wynn hand delivered to the president reportedly convinced Trump to deport Guo.
“Where’s the letter Steve brought?” Trump said in June the day after a private dinner with Wynn. “We need to get this criminal out of the country.”
But Trump didn’t follow through with sending Guo back to China after learning that he’s a member of the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
If the Journal’s report is indeed true, it would be easy to understand why Steve Wynn might be willing to play such a role. Over 60 percent of Wynn Resorts’ revenue is generated in Macau, China’s special gaming enclave.
Wynn owns two properties there, Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace, the latter a $4.1 billion integrated casino resort that opened in August of 2016.
Macau is home to six licensed casino operators. In addition to Wynn, MGM, Las Vegas Sands, Melco Resorts, SJM Holdings, and Galaxy Entertainment hold gaming permits. But those licenses begin expiring in 2020, and it’s unclear how the renewal process will work. Being a diplomatic partner to the federal government would presumably only increase Wynn’s odds of keeping his Macau holdings up and running.
Wynn is thought to have unrestricted access to the president. In addition to being longtime colleagues in the casino and hospitality industries, Wynn is presently the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee where he’s responsible for making sure GOP candidates are adequately funded for the midterm elections.
Xi and Guo
China President Xi Jinping launched his anti-corruption crusade in 2012. The oversight of VIP junket companies transporting wealthy mainlanders to Macau became part of the campaign in 2014.
The crackdown led to casino wins plummeting from $45 billion in 2013 to $28 billion last year. While Guo has largely supported Xi’s administration, several of his former business associates have become targets of the anti-corruption movement. That’s led to Guo deeming the crackdown as nothing more than a political witch hunt.
Trump hosted Xi at Mar-a-Lago in April, where the two leaders addressed trade relations. Trump begins his Asian tour of five countries this week, which includes a visit to China.
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