China

US Sues Casino Mogul Wynn, Says He’s China ‘Foreign Agent’

 

The US has accused retired casino mogul Steve Wynn of lobbying on behalf of the Chinese government and demanded that he register as a foreign agent.

Wynn is alleged to have lobbied former president Donald Trump to accede to Beijing’s request for the return of a businessman who sought political asylum in the US.

The Department of Justice is suing Wynn under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA.

“Where a foreign government uses an American as its agent to influence policy decisions, FARA gives the American people a right to know,” Matthew Olsen, an assistant attorney general in the department’s National Security Division, said.

According to the complaint, from at least June to August 2017, Wynn contacted Trump and members of his administration to convey China’s request to cancel the visa and deport a Chinese businessman accused by Beijing of corruption.

The department said Wynn engaged in these efforts at the request of Sun Lijun, then a vice-minister of public security.

ALSO SEE: Casino Operators Gain Billions As Macau Stays At 6 Licences

 

Discussed at White House

Wynn conveyed the request directly to Trump over dinner and by phone, and discussed the issue with Trump and senior officials at the White House, the department said.

The department did not name the businessman but multiple media outlets identified him as Guo Wengui, a Chinese businessman and prominent critic of the Chinese Communist Party living in exile in the US.

Guo had publicly criticised the party by doubting the integrity of an anti-corruption programme.

Wynn resigned from his gambling company in 2018 after being accused of sexual misconduct. He held licences to operate casinos in Macau in addition to the Mirage and the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

The Macau licences were due for renewal in 2019 and the department alleges that Wynn acted on China’s behalf to protect his business interests in Macau.

Guo filed for bankruptcy in the US in February, saying his assets totalled no more than $100,000.

 

  • George Russell

 

 

READ MORE:

Arrest of Macau Junket Mogul Rocks World’s Biggest Gambling Hub

Australia’s Crown Unfit for Casino Licence, Perth Inquiry Finds

Asia-Pacific Needs to Do More in War on Corruption

 

George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

Recent Posts

Biden to Propose Tripling Tariffs on Metal Products From China

President eyes hiking tariffs amid a push for blue-collar votes on a visit to Pittsburgh,…

7 hours ago

Japanese Firms Eye Moves to the US as ‘China Illusion’ Fades

With Japanese firms now wary about investing in China, the US's economic resilience has proven…

8 hours ago

Apple Eyes Indonesia Fab as it Reduces China Reliance – AP

Apple CEO Cook also met Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Hanoi on Tuesday as the…

9 hours ago

IMF Tips 3.2% Global Growth, Warns China on Property Crisis

IMF chief economist says China’s economy is strained by its property crisis and warns that…

9 hours ago

Nikkei Dips on Profit Taking, Hang Seng Flat Despite Rules Boost

Japan’s impending earning season saw investors rushing to cash in while Hong Kong shares were…

10 hours ago

China’s Theft of Trade Secrets Our No1 Concern: US Patent Chief

The US official said US businesses operating in China regularly complain about insufficient protections and…

1 day ago