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The DOJ Charges Las Vegas Magnate Steve Wynn of Being an Agent of China

Steve Wynn is as synonymous with Las Vegas as $9.99 lobster buffets, Cirque du Soleil performances, or blowing your student's college funds on nickel slot machines. He has been involved in some of the biggest casino and real-estate deals that the city has witnessed. His knowledge of the world of casinos is unparalleled, and he is aware of the game. It has given him the impression of being untouchable. In light of the news about some of his actions from 2017 surfacing, it is apparent that this is an illusion.

In 2017, Wynn reached out to then-President Donald Trump and other officials in his administration to ask for assistance with obtaining asylum for a Chinese businessman living in the United States. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has been trying to force Wynn to be registered in accordance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara) as an agent of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and also a top official in the country's Ministry of Public Security (MPS).

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department's national security division spoke out candidly about the lawsuit. “The filing of this suit–the first affirmative civil lawsuit under Fara in more than three decades–demonstrates the department's commitment to ensuring transparency in our democratic system… Where a foreign government uses an American as its agent to influence policy decisions in the United States, Fara gives the American people a right to know.”

The suit claims that in the months of June and August 2017, Wynn met with President Trump as well as other staff members from his administration. In these meetings, Wynn “attempted to convey the PRC's request to cancel the visa or otherwise remove from the United States a Chinese businessperson who left China in 2014, was later charged with corruption by the PRC, and sought political asylum in the United States.” In addition, they claim that this was on the advice of Sun Lijun, then-vice minister of the MPS.

The Wall Street Journal had previously stated that the Chinese businessman for whom Wynn had been advocating was Guo Wengui. Guo has been charged with various crimes, including bribery, sexual assault, and more, but has always denied the allegations. Guo argues that these accusations are being fabricated by the PRC since Guo is the focus of a witch hunt due to his claims of high-ranking PRC officials having corrupt connections with top businessmen in China.

Wynn already has a shady reputation from the sexual-assault allegations of 2018. The allegations forced him to remove himself as chairman of finance for the Republican National Committee (RNC), in addition to his own hotel and casino firm, Wynn Resorts. Due to Wynn's business relationships with Macau, it is believed that he was announcing meetings with the PRC, which Wynn and his attorney have firmly denied.

In 2020, Elliott Broidy, a venture capitalist and former deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Congress, found himself convicted of multiple crimes. He was charged as an agent for foreign governments, accepting funds while in the Trump Administration to support Malaysian as well as Chinese interests. He was also involved with Chinese officials to get Guo back to his country of birth. The complaint, as stated, is that Wynn was involved in Broidy’s lobbying process. The only thing that makes the allegation more fascinating is that Broidy was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump. Based on the numerous connections, it appears that federal authorities believe they have a solid case against Wynn. However, as he has repeatedly demonstrated, he is able to avoid prosecution and even shift blame. With all the cash Chinese visitors have paid into his resorts over time, it's unusual to come across the kind of accusations that have been made.

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