U.S. Accuses Steve Wynn of Lobbying Trump on Behalf of China

The Justice Department sued Stephen Wynn, the former casino mogul, on Tuesday, seeking to force him to register as an agent of the Chinese government and saying he had made requests on the government’s behalf to Donald J. Trump when he was president.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Wynn passed along a request to Mr. Trump in 2017 from the Chinese government to deport a Chinese national who had sought asylum in the United States. At the time, Mr. Wynn was the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, a post he had been handpicked for by Mr. Trump.

The suit accuses Mr. Wynn of broaching the topic multiple times, including at a dinner with Mr. Trump and other administration officials on June 27, 2017, when he passed along passport photos of the individual to Mr. Trump’s secretary; during unscheduled meetings with Mr. Trump in August of that year; and by phone while aboard a yacht off the coast of Italy. Mr. Trump told Mr. Wynn he would look into the matter, according to the suit. The effort to remove the Chinese national, who was not named, was ultimately unsuccessful, according to the lawsuit.

The suit paints Mr. Wynn as furthering his own interests in Macau, a region of China known for its casinos that was critical for Mr. Wynn’s business. Mr. Wynn resigned as chairman and chief executive of his company, Wynn Resorts, in 2018 after being accused of sexual misconduct. He also stepped down as finance chairman of the R.N.C.

By serving as a middleman for the Chinese government, Mr. Wynn acted as a foreign agent, the Justice Department said. The department said it had asked Mr. Wynn to register himself as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act by letter in 2018, 2021 and April of this year, but he had refused to do so.

“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,” Matthew G. Olsen, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s national security division, said in a statement. “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.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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