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 Wynn accuses top shareholder, buys out his stake

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Join date : 2012-02-20

Wynn accuses top shareholder, buys out his stake Empty
PostSubject: Wynn accuses top shareholder, buys out his stake   Wynn accuses top shareholder, buys out his stake Icon_minitimeMon Feb 20, 2012 10:38 pm

(Reuters) - Wynn Resorts Ltd Chief Executive Steve Wynn upped the ante in his fight against former business partner Kazuo Okada, accusing the Japanese gaming mogul of improper payments to foreign gaming regulators and forcibly buying back Okada's 20 percent stake in the casino company at a deep discount.

As shares in Okada's Universal Entertainment tumbled 21 percent, he denounced the move as "outrageous," vowed to block it and called for independent oversight of the Wynn Resorts board.

The latest fiery exchange between the Las Vegas casino tycoon and Okada, 69, a Hong Kong resident who is building his own casino in the Philippines, is the most dramatic since they fell out publicly in January, and has significant implications on their respective business empires.

Both self-made billionaires claim the other made improper payments to win favor in their respective Macau and Philippines markets.

Asia is the world's fastest growing gaming region, with Macau earning five times the revenue of Vegas and the Philippines rapidly developing.

Wynn said its board had decided Okada was "unsuitable" after reviewing an internal company report. That report said internal investigators found more than three dozen instances over three years in which Okada and his associates allegedly engaged in "improper activities for their own benefit in apparent violation of U.S. anti-corruption laws."

The Wynn report followed a year-long investigation by several outside investigators, including a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), hired by a company compliance committee to scrutinize Okada and his associates.

Shares in Wynn Macau rose 3 percent, in line with Hong Kong-listed casino peers.
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