Okada-Wynn legal spat escalates

Adding fuel to the legal fire, Okada filed a motion to protect his stake in Wynn Resorts and possibly head-off an attempt to remove him from the board.

MANILA, Philippines – The legal spat between Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada and casino mogul Steve Wynn just escalated a notch, after Okada filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to protect his shares in Wynn Resorts.

Wynn forcibly bought Okada’s 20% stake in the casino company in February after producing a report that said Okada engaged in illegal “gifts” to Philippine gambling regulators. Wynn Resorts has a pending case against Okada’s camp, which used to hold the largest single stake in the casino firm.

The Japanese businessman who has been a major financial backer of Wynn’s casino empire since 2000, wants the rights of his subsidiary, Aruze USA, as the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts immediately restored, according to a Reuters report.

On top of which, Okada filed his own amended counterclaim against Wynn and individual board members, saying that it was Wynn who “indulged in fraud, deception, theft and betrayal to maintain control of his gaming enterprises.”

In the Nevada filing, Okada said that “in the course of trying to illegally force out Aruze USA as Wynn Resorts largest stockholder, Mr. Wynn and Wynn resorts’ General Counsel Kimmarie Sinatra committed a series of predicate acts of racketeering, which include fraud, acquiring property under false pretenses, acquiring signatures under false pretenses and other similar wrongful activities.”

The move comes after Wynn filed a preliminary proxy statement announcing a special stockholder meeting to oust Okada from his remaining position on Wynn’s board. Okada’s suit could be seen as an attempt to halt his removal.

Former friends

Wynn, who is known for constructing premium Las Vegas casinos like the Bellagio, once called Okada his “best friend,” but has said that Okada went against the Wynn board’s decision to pursue a property in the Philippines. 

The Japanese businessman decided to build his own casino in the Philippines rising Entertainment City, making Wynn consider him a direct competitor.

Though the businessman is an engineer by training, he is said to have not ventured into building leisure properties before. He is in negotiations to build another casino resort in South Korea. – Rappler.com