DOJ Loses Foreign Agent Appeal Against Steve Wynn

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A federal appeals court has thrown out an appeal filed by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) in May 2023 against disgraced former Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn.

A federal appeals court ruling on Friday is one of the rare things that Steve Wynn, shown in 2016, has to celebrate these days. (Image: Getty)

The DOJ’s original lawsuit sought to compel Wynn to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). It alleged that he acted as an agent of the Chinese government when, in 2017, he exhorted then-President Donald Trump to deport US-based Guo Wengui, a critic of the Chinese government, to his homeland.

FARA is a transparency statute requiring agents of foreign interests seeking to sway US policy to disclose certain information.

The DOJ’s civil suit — the first brought under FARA in more than three decades — was dismissed in October 2022 by a lower court. In that ruling, US District Judge James E. Boasberg made no determination about the truth of the DOJ’s allegations, but said that he was satisfied that any contact Wynn may have had with Chinese officials ended in 2017.

On Friday, a three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision.

“Even accepting the government’s allegations as true, Wynn long ago ceased acting as a foreign agent, he has no present obligation to register,” the judges wrote.

The decision is a blow to the Justice Department’s renewed efforts to root out undisclosed foreign influence in US affairs.

Who is Guo Wengui?

Guo, once one of the richest men in China, fled his homeland in 2014 after learning he was about to be arrested on corruption charges. He claims the charges were falsified because he had criticized Chinese politicians for corruption.

During his exile in the US, Guo became involved in right-wing US politics and is an associate of Steve Bannon. In March 2023, Guo was arrested by federal authorities on charges of conspiring to defraud his online followers out of more than $1 billion.

In September 2022, Sun was sentenced to death after being convicted in China of manipulating the stock market, accepting $91 million in bribes, selling official jobs, and abandoning his post during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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