Major DeSantis political donor and casino mogul accused by Justice Department of acting as unregistered Chinese agent




  • In Business
  • 2022-05-18 02:02:40Z
  • By USA TODAY
Resort and casino mogul Steve Wynn, 79, $3.
Resort and casino mogul Steve Wynn, 79, $3.  

A casino mogul who contributed $100,000 to Gov. Ron DeSantis's reelection campaign is being accused by the U.S. Justice Department of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for China and lobbying former President Donald Trump on the country's behalf.

Billionaire casino company founder Steve Wynn was sued by the federal government Tuesday in an attempt to compel him to register as a foreign agent.

In a press release, the Justice Department alleges that between June and August of 2017, Wynn contacted Trump and his administration officials to relay China's request to "cancel the visa or otherwise remove from the United States a Chinese businessperson" who had sought asylum in the United States.

Wynn was acting at the request of a Chinese official, Sun Lijun, according to the Justice Department. Wynn spoke to Trump during dinner and over the phone about expelling the Chinese businessperson from the United States.

"The Justice Department accuses Wynn of lobbying for China to protect his business interests," according to the press release, which notes that Wynn's company owned and operated casinos in Macau, a special administrative region in China.

"The department alleges that Wynn acted at the request of (China) out of a desire to protect his business interests in Macau."

ELECTION: Gov. Ron DeSantis says he hopes to flip Florida to a solid red state with his reelection

Wynn sold a Palm Beach home last month for $32 million, but still owns other homes in the community. He cut the six-figure check to DeSantis' political committee last October.

Wynn resigned as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, the company he founded, in 2018 after being accused of sexual misconduct. He also resigned as the Republican National Committee's finance chair.

DeSantis has been a vocal critic of China. He recently accused Disney of being too cozy with China.

"Disney is in far too deep with the Communist Party of China and has lost any moral authority to tell you what to do," the governor's campaign said in a recent email. "Disney should know a villain when they see one."

Last year, DeSantis directed state investment fund managers to conduct a survey of Chinese investments.

"The Communist Party of China is not a vehicle that we want to be entangled with," DeSantis said in a press release.

Wynn is worth $3.3 billion, according to Forbes, which notes that he "created some of Las Vegas' most notable casinos, including The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas."

He's been a longtime donor to Republican candidates and the GOP. During the 2020 election cycle, Wynn and his spouse was among the nation's top political contributors, donating $12.5 million to conservative outside spending groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

A DeSantis spokeswoman referred questions about Wynn to the governor's campaign staff, which did not immediately respond Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Steve Wynn accused of lobbying Donald Trump on China's behalf

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