US

DOJ orders casino mogul Steve Wynn to register as a foreign lobbyist

Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn has been told by the Biden Justice Department to register as a foreign agent after he allegedly pressed his friend, former President Donald Trump, to deny a visa to a Chinese businessman at the request of Beijing.

Wynn, the co-founder of Wynn Resorts whose net worth has been valued at $3.2billion by Forbes, has denied lobbying Trump on behalf of the Chinese government to expel a businessman considered a fugitive by Beijing.

In 2017, the 79-year-old billionaire is alleged to have tried to persuade the Trump administration to send New York-based businessman Guo Wengui back to his native China, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Two associates of Wynn told DOJ prosecutors last year that they discussed Guo’s removal from the country with the casino magnate.

The associates – Elliott Broidy and Nickie Lum Davis – claim they helped put Wynn in touch with Chinese government officials who expressed their desire to have Guo expelled from the US.

Guo Wengui

Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn (left) has been told by the Biden Justice Department to register as a foreign agent after he allegedly pressed his friend, former President Donald Trump, to deny a visa to a Chinese businessman, Guo Wengui (right) at the request of Beijing

Wynn, the co-founder of Wynn Resorts whose net worth has been valued at $3.2billion by Forbes, has denied lobbying Trump on behalf of the Chinese government to expel a businessman considered a fugitive by Beijing. Trump is seen above in New York earlier this week

Wynn, the co-founder of Wynn Resorts whose net worth has been valued at $3.2billion by Forbes, has denied lobbying Trump on behalf of the Chinese government to expel a businessman considered a fugitive by Beijing. Trump is seen above in New York earlier this week

Broidy, who pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Agent Registration Act, claimed that he was with Wynn aboard Wynn’s yacht in August 2017 when the mogul called Trump to inquire about Guo’s status in the US.

Broidy was also pardoned by Trump on his last day in office.

Davis, who pleaded guilty last year to aiding and abetting FARA violations, said Broidy told her in June 2017 that Wynn ‘reiterated to POTUS’ the need to reject Guo’s visa application, according to the Journal.

DailyMail.com has reached out to Wynn’s attorney and Trump’s office seeking comment.

‘Steve Wynn never served as an agent or lobbyist for China or anyone else,’ the attorney, Reid Weingarten, told the Journal.

‘He was merely a loyal messenger of information he received to our government.’

Elliott Broidy

Nickie Lum Davis

Two associates of Wynn told DOJ prosecutors last year that they discussed Guo’s removal from the country with the casino magnate. The associates – Elliott Broidy (left) and Nickie Lum Davis (right) – claim they helped put Wynn in touch with Chinese government officials who expressed their desire to have Guo expelled from the US

Weingarten added: ‘Any effort to pursue him in any way for this conduct would be both a miscarriage of justice and an unwarranted extension of the FARA statute.’

Guo released a statement to the Journal which read: ‘I am glad to hear the DOJ is investigating Steve Wynn and frankly believe they should criminally indict him for serving as a greedy spy of the Chinese Communist Party.’

‘FARA’ is the acronym for Foreign Agent Registration Act, an 82-year-old statute that was originally signed into law to combat pro-Nazi propaganda in the US in the immediate period preceding the country’s entry into World War Two.

In the initial decades, it was rarely enforced. But in recent years the federal government has used it to compel domestic lobbyists acting on behalf of foreign actors to reveal their sources of funding and file periodic public disclosures.

The aim of the law is to increase transparency into the activities of foreign governments as they relate to policymaking and lobbying in Washington, DC.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, is being investigated by the federal government for allegedly violating FARA statutes while working for the former president.

Guo, who at his peak was once the 73rd richest man in China, fled to the US in 2014 after learning he was wanted for bribery, fraud, money laundering and rape – allegations he fiercely denies.

He is a close business associate of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

Between 2018 and 2020, Guo, who is believed to have made his fortune in real estate, and Bannon launched two media projects – G News and GTV Media Group.

Guo, who at his peak was once the 73rd richest man in China, fled to the US in 2014 after learning he was wanted for bribery, fraud, money laundering and rape - allegations he fiercely denies. He is a close business associate of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon (seen left with Guo in this undated file photo)

Guo, who at his peak was once the 73rd richest man in China, fled to the US in 2014 after learning he was wanted for bribery, fraud, money laundering and rape – allegations he fiercely denies. He is a close business associate of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon (seen left with Guo in this undated file photo) 

Last August, FBI agents boarded Guo’s superyacht to arrest Bannon on charges of fraud.

Bannon, who was accused of cooking up a scheme to privately finance a section of a border wall along the southern frontier with Mexico, eventually pleaded not guilty.

He received a presidential pardon from Trump before he left office in January.

A federal judge in New York City dismissed the charges against Bannon on Tuesday.

At the time Wynn was allegedly trying to have Guo removed from the country, he was serving as the chair of the Republican National Committee’s national finance committee. Broidy was the national deputy finance chairman.

A year later, Wynn resigned from the position after The Wall Street Journal reported that he routinely subjected women who worked for him to unwanted sexual advances over the course of decades.

Wynn has called the sexual misconduct accusations ‘preposterous.’

The allegations, which surfaced at the height of the #MeToo movement, also led Wynn to resign as CEO of the company he co-founded.

Wynn’s ties to the Chinese government were reportedly due in large part to his considerable business interests in Macau, the former Portuguese colony which is now an autonomous region on the south coast of China.

Macau in recent years has come to be known as ‘the Las Vegas of Asia’ due to its high concentration of casinos and resorts.


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