Another Bitter Divorce for Steve Wynn: Okada Ousted

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Feb/24/2012
Another Bitter Divorce for Steve Wynn:  Okada Ousted

(Associated Press) - Billionaire Steve Wynn stepped up the feud with his former business partner Kazuo Okada on Friday by removing the Japanese tycoon from the board of his Macau casino company.

Wynn Macau's board voted to remove Okada following allegations he made improper payments to Asian gambling regulators, a violation of U.S. anti-corruption laws.

Wynn Macau said its board "resolved" to remove Okada as a non-executive director immediately because it was in the "best interests" of the company.

Okada is the biggest shareholder in Hong Kong-listed Wynn Macau's parent company, Wynn Resorts Ltd. He's fighting attempts by Wynn Resorts to forcibly buy back his 20 percent stake in the U.S. company.

Wynn Resorts is trying to distance itself from the 69-year-old Okada after an investigation by a former FBI director unearthed cash payments and gifts totaling $110,000 to gambling regulators, including regulators in the Philippines.

"After due consideration of the independent report, taking into account the company's high ethical standards, the board determined it was obligated to remove Mr. Okada," a company statement said, citing "unacceptable conduct" by Okada, his employees and associates.

Okada owns his Wynn Resorts stake through his Japan-based casino game company, Universal Entertainment Corp.

Kazuma Ishioka, a spokesman for Universal, said reports of Okada's removal were "extremely regrettable." He wouldn't comment further.

Wynn's ousting of Okada is the latest salvo in a bitter dispute between the two billionaires who are former friends and business partners.

Wynn Resorts said earlier this week that Louis Freeh's investigation uncovered more than three dozen instances over a three-year period in which Okada and his associates engaged in "improper activities for their own benefit." The yearlong probe showed Okada repeatedly violated company conduct policies and U.S. anti-corruption laws, the company said.

Okada, who says he's invested $380 million in Wynn Resorts since 2000, plans to fight Wynn Resorts' attempt to take back his shares in return for a $1.9 billion note.

Freeh's report alleges that Okada, who is developing a casino resort in the Philippines, personally directed payments and gifts to Cristino Naguiat, chairman of the government-owned casino operator and regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., during a visit by Naguiat and his family to Macau in Sept. 2010.

The money went to "luxury lodging, extravagant dinners, shopping," the report says.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said Friday that Naguiat will be asked to explain his role in the controversy.

Gambling News

Mobster-Turned-Minister Tells FBI All About Decades Old Museum Heist (Video)

Welcome to the Gambling911.com Crime Beat.  We are the leading gaming news site when it comes to covering crime and punishment in the sector.

All the Latest News and Odds: Russian Online Poker Player Shatters Twitch Record, More

For a comprehensive look at today’s top news stories and latest event odds from your mobile device or laptop, Visit the Gambling911.com Site Map

News Corp Sports Reporter Received Money From Controversial Gambler

These are your latest gambling headlines from around the world, the lead stories on the day.

Quebec’s Controversial Online Gambling Website Blocking Law Challenged

A Quebec law that would likely have blocked most online gambling sites (and presumably those that even promote the activity) has now been challenged by The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.

FreeSpins.com Revamped and Offering New Casino Gamers

Freespins.com has just been revamped and now offers casino gamers an unbeatable, unique resource to make sure they get the best from their online sessions

Syndicate