The complaint alleges that Steve Wynn was working as an agent on behalf of the People’s Republic of China and a former PRC official, Sun Lijun.
“Specifically, at the request of Sun, and on behalf of the PRC, the Defendant conveyed to former President Donald J. Trump and his Administration (‘the Trump Administration’) the PRC’s request to remove from the country a PRC national who had sought political asylum in the United States,” the complaint, filed Tuesday in DC federal court, says. “In so doing, from at least June 2017 through at least August 2017, the Defendant acted as an agent for foreign principals Sun and the PRC and engaged in political activities on their behalf in the United States.”
The Justice Department says it sent Steve Wynn letters in May 2018, October 2021, and April 2022 informing him of his obligation to register under FARA, and now is seeking an injunction from the court requiring Wynn to do so. The move to use a civil lawsuit to force a FARA registration is extremely rare, and, according to the DOJ news release unveiling the complaint, it is the first time in three decades that the Department has filed this kind of affirmative civil lawsuit.
The DOJ contends that Wynn, in his alleged work on behalf of the PRC, was motivated “by his desire to protect his business interests” in China, with prosecutors pointing specifically to the casinos Wynn operated in Macau.
Steve Wynn’s Attorney Denied The Accusations
Wynn’s attorneys, in a Tuesday statement to CNN, denied that he ever acted as an agent of the Chinese government and said he had no obligation to register under FARA.
“We respectfully disagree with the Department of Justice’s legal interpretation of FARA and look forward to proving our case in court,” Wynn’s attorneys, Reid H. Weingarten and Brian M. Heberlig said.
The complaint alleges that Wynn was asked in June 2017 to help on the lobbying effort by Elliott Broidy, who, like Wynn, is a former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.