DOJ preparing to sue Steve Wynn to register as foreign lobbyist: report

DOJ preparing to sue Steve Wynn to register as foreign lobbyist: report
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The Department of Justice is reportedly preparing to sue luxury Las Vegas casino developer Steve Wynn in order to force him to register as a foreign lobbyist over allegations that he attempted to lobby Trump administration officials to obtain a diplomatic favor for China. 

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that people familiar with the matter said that prosecutors have gathered evidence against Wynn, who has served as an informal adviser to former President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE

The sources added that the Justice Department is prepared to bring Wynn to court if he does not register as a lobbyist under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which allows Justice officials to use a court order to force compliance with the law. 

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The Journal reported that the potential legal dispute comes from previous reports that Wynn in the summer of 2017 allegedly attempted to push U.S. officials to send back to China a businessman who has been residing in New York, Guo Wengui. 

Guo, who fled China in 2014 to seek asylum in the United States, has been accused of criminal offenses such as bribery and sexual assault and is considered a fugitive by China. 

CNBC reported in 2017 that Guo was a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla. 

Among Wynn’s alleged efforts to lobby U.S. authorities on behalf of China was a reported hand-delivered letter to Trump himself from the Chinese government regarding Guo, according to the Journal. 

Wynn, who previously served as finance chair for the Republican National Committee, has denied reports of the letter, as well as any allegations of wrongdoing on behalf of a foreign government. 

In a statement to the Journal on Wednesday, Wynn’s attorney, Reid Weingarten, said, “Steve Wynn never served as an agent or lobbyist for China or anyone else,” adding, “He was merely a loyal messenger of information he received to our government.”

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“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,” Weingarten said. 

The Hill has reached out to Weingarten, as well as the Justice Department, for additional information. 

Meanwhile, Guo praised the Journal’s report of a potential legal effort by the Justice Department, saying in a statement, “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.”

Wynn, who played a central role in expanding the Las Vegas strip in the 1990s, resigned from his role as CEO of Wynn Resorts in 2018 amid a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him. 

The state of Oregon in 2018 filed a lawsuit against the casino mogul and the board of Wynn Resorts over arguments of a failure to properly respond to and address the misconduct allegations.