Asia round-up: Wynn wants lawsuit dismissed, NagaCorp rebound & when will Macau end restrictions?
Steve Wynn asks US federal court to dismiss DOJ civil lawsuit .
Founder of Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn, has asked a US federal court to discard a lawsuit brought against him by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Earlier this year, the DOJ sought an order for Wynn to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
The order was submitted with the belief that Wynn was acting as a foreign agent for the People’s Republic of China, sending messages to then-President Donald Trump and members of his administration via Chinese Government associates.
However, Wynn claimed: “I [was acting] in the interests of the United States by bringing [opportunities] to President Trump, not as an agent of a Chinese official of government.”
Wynn has detailed three case points warranting the dismissal of the lawsuit against him. He claims that even if the DOJ’s allegations against him were true, his obligation to file under FARA became void as soon as his alleged conduct stopped several years ago, in 2017.
Furthermore, Wynn feels signing under FARA violates his constitutional rights and that DOJ allegations do not meet the necessary “legal standards” for triggering the law’s registration requirement.
Wynn’s filing added: "Merely delivering a message on behalf of a foreign government and checking on its status, without any accompanying efforts to influence on behalf of the foreign government, falls outside the scope of FARA."
The US Government has until 15 August to respond to Wynn’s motion.
Macau prepares to ease lockdown restrictions from 23 July
Macau’s SAR Government is preparing for its next phase in containing Covid-19 cases as it looks to ease the region out of lockdown.
In a statement released by the Government Information Bureau (GCS), every local public department must “plug loopholes” in all epidemic prevention and control work to ensure business operations can resume.
“I [was acting] in the interests of the United States by bringing [opportunities] to President Trump, not as an agent of a Chinese official of government”Steve Wynn
Alongside this, Macau has reaffirmed its commitment to strive for zero Covid in the community.
Chief Executive of Macau’s Government, Ho lat Seng, revealed plans to get the region through its current wave of infections at the Civil Protection Action Centre, alongside VP of the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre Ao leong U.
Ao leong U introduced the “consolidation” phase of epidemic prevention and control, which the Government plans to introduce on 23 July 2022.
Problems discussed include issues that may be encountered by each public department, offering solutions to ensure each operation has water-tight anti-Covid measures.
Meanwhile, Ho reiterated that the region’s current Covid outbreak is the most daunting to date, given that the variant in circulation, Omicron BA.5, is the most transmissible and dangerous to hit Macau’s shores.
Despite Macau's plans to end lockdown, it remains unclear whether 23 July will truly mark the end of restrictions in the region.
NagaCorp surges to net profit of $52.7m for H1 2022
NagaCorp has posted a net profit of $52.7m for H1 2022, up 39% from H2 2021. The operator’s latest figures are up markedly year-on-year, when it suffered a net loss of $77.2m.
Figures for H1 2021 were, understandably, heavily affected by the Covid pandemic. Higher business volumes across all NagaCorp’s outlets and continued cost controls have helped contribute to its recovery a year later.
In addition, the company has posted EBITDA of $130.1m, up from $4.5m in the same period last year.
Operating chiefly out of NagaWorld, the company’s flagship resort in Cambodia, NagaCorp has seen its mass market and premium mass market in Q2 2022 recover 80% and 72%, respectively, on pre-pandemic figures.
This is a notable improvement and sees the operator continue its return to pre-Covid profitability levels.