According to the Wall Street Journal
and Bloomberg, the Justice Department
has informed Steve Wynn
, a former casino mogul and friend of former President Donald Trump
, that he must register as a foreign lobbyist or face a lawsuit
from the US government.
familiar with the matter told Bloomberg and the Journal that prosecutors are prepared to take Wynn to court if he refuses to file under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The decision is reportedly linked to Wynn's alleged 2017 efforts to persuade US officials to return businessman Guo Wengui
, whom Chinese authorities consider a fugitive, to China
Guo, a member of Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf
resort, has been accused of bribery, fraud, and money
laundering, all of which he has denied. Last year, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was arrested on Guo's yacht
off the coast of Connecticut
following Bannon's indictment for fraud.
According to the Journal, Wynn, a Trump business rival turned informal adviser to Trump's presidential administration, had interests in the Chinese gambling destination of Macau in 2017 when he delivered a letter to Trump from Chinese officials about Guo. Wynn has denied any wrongdoing.
“Steve Wynn was merely a loyal messenger of information he received to our government... Any attempt to pursue him in any way for this conduct would be both a miscarriage of justice and an unwarranted extension of the FARA statute,” his attorney, Reid Weingarten, told the Journal.
FARA, enacted in 1938, requires any person representing the interests of foreign entities in the United States
to disclose their relationship to the Justice Department, including which federal officials they meet with, why and when they meet with them, and how much they are paid.
Guo praised the Justice Department's efforts in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.
“I am glad to hear the DOJ is looking into Steve Wynn, and frankly, I believe they should criminally indict him for serving as a greedy spy for the Chinese Communist Party,” Guo said.
Wynn, 79, was a major player in the real estate development of the Las Vegas Strip, overseeing several top casinos in the country's gambling capital, including the Mirage, Treasure Island, and Bellagio.
He resigned from his positions as CEO of Wynn Resorts and finance chair of the Republican National Committee
in 2018 after being accused of sexual misconduct
, which he has denied.