The Biden administration on Tuesday sued hotelier Stephen Wynn to force him to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The government claimed Mr. Wynn lobbied on behalf of officials of the People’s Republic of China during the Trump administration.
The 13-page complaint filed in federal court in Washington said Mr. Wynn, former CEO of Wynn Resorts, acted on behalf of Sun Lijun, then-vice minister of public security for the PRC.
Mr. Wynn allegedly had dinner and calls with former President Donald Trump in 2017 concerning canceling a visa of a businessperson who left China in 2014 to seek political asylum in the U.S. China now seeks to charge that individual with corruption.
“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,” said Matthew G. Olsen, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “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 government claims Mr. Wynn lobbied on behalf of the PRC to protect his business interests in Macau.
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FARA is a federal law that requires individuals to disclose relationships with foreign nationals when working and advocating for their interests.
Mr. Wynn’s lawyer, Brian Heberlig, said his client did not act as a foreign agent.
“Steve Wynn has never acted as an agent of the Chinese government and had no obligation to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. We respectfully disagree with the Department of Justice’s legal interpretation of FARA and look forward to proving our case in court,” he said.
Mr. Wynn resigned from the board of Wynn Resorts in 2018 amid sexual misconduct allegations.