HONG KONG. The board of casino operator Wynn Macau on Friday removed Japanese gambling tycoon Kazuo Okada as a director over alleged corruption in the Philippines. This happened amid a bitter feud between the Japanese businessman and one-time partner Steve Wynn.
The company issued a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange saying it sacked Okada after an internal Wynn Resorts investigation accused him of bribing Philippine regulators in his bid to build a rival gaming resort in Manila.
Wynn Resorts said, in a lawsuit filed Tuesday (21 February 2012) in a Las Vegas district court, that Okada went behind the back of the company to build a stake in Asian gaming for his own Universal Entertainment group.
Wynn also accused Okada of spending more than $110,000 to get favours from Philippines officials in apparent violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, jeopardising Wynn’s own reputation in the process.
The suit alleged that Okada had sought a gaming licence in the Philippines and made the payments despite Wynn’s telling him not to do so. The Wynn Resorts board voted Sunday to sack Okada and to redeem his 24 million shares in the group, held through a Universal subsidiary.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the allegations that Mr Okada made at least $110,000 in unauthorised payments to two gaming officials in the Philippines