Steve Wynn (pictured in a file photo), founder of casino business Wynn Resorts Ltd, has on Monday asked a federal court in the United States to dismiss a civil suit by the country’s Department of Justice that claims he should register as an “agent” of the People’s Republic of China, reported U.S. media outlet CNN. Mr Wynn stepped down from the Wynn group in February 2018.
Wynn Resorts is parent of Wynn Macau Ltd, which operates two casino complexes in Macau, a special administrative region of China.
The Department of Justice had in May said Mr Wynn should lodge his details under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), because he had on several occasions between June 2017 and August 2017, asked either President Donald Trump, or his administration, to intervene on behalf of China.
The matter concerned a Chinese businessperson present in the U.S. but wanted by the Chinese authorities on suspicion of corruption, and that China wished to see removed from the U.S.
On Monday, Mr Wynn’s legal representation argued that under precedent set by the District of Columbia court circuit, based in Washington DC, any obligation he had to register under FARA – even were the allegations true – ended by October 2017, the date at which the Department of Justice acknowledges Mr Wynn’s relationship ended with the Chinese government.
Mr Wynn’s side also said his rights under the U.S. Constitution would be violated if the court ordered him to register under FARA, as it would amount to contradicting previous statements Mr Wynn made to the government asserting he had not acted as a foreign agent under the law.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry senior official had said in May, soon after the news of the U.S. Department of Justice’s move against Mr Wynn, that it was “based on nothing but hearsay to deliberately hype up the ‘China-threat’ theory”.
With Monday’s motion, Mr Wynn filed a 2018 letter his attorneys sent to the Department of Justice explaining why they did not think he was required to register under the law.
According to CNN, the U.S. government has until August 15 to respond to Mr Wynn’s motion.
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"We warn the cross-border gambling crime suspects to stop their criminal acts, to return to the country, and turn themselves in so that they could still be granted lenient treatment"
Spokesman from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs