Wynn Retracts Some Accusations in Lawsuit, Okada Says
Universal Entertainment Corp. (6425), the Japanese pachinko company, jumped by the most in more than four years after its Chairman Kazuo Okada said Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) retracted some accusations made in a lawsuit against him.
Universal jumped 20 percent, the most since November 2008, to 1,880 yen on volume of 879,300 shares, five times the three- month average. The broader Topix index rose 0.1 percent.
Wynn Resorts asked a Nevada state court judge in a filing for permission to amend the suit and remove claims that the Universal chairman, a former Wynn board member, stole trade secrets, Okada said yesterday in a statement. He resigned as a director before a shareholder vote to remove Okada, 70, last month on allegations he made improper payments to Philippine gambling officials.
The Wynn Resorts filing couldn’t immediately be confirmed in court records. James Pisanelli, a lawyer for the company, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking confirmation that he made the filing. A copy of the court filing, bearing a time stamp and clerk’s signature, was obtained by Bloomberg News.
Wynn Resorts told the judge it would drop the claims because of the judge’s concerns about their validity, changing its suit to focus on Okada’s conduct in the Philippines and the length of time before Wynn Resorts learned about it, according to the copy of the filing.
Universal shares gained today because of reports about Okada’s statement on Wynn retracting allegations, Nobuyuki Horiuchi, spokesman for the Tokyo-based company, said by phone. Okada owned about 68 percent of Universal as of Sept. 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Okada is in a legal battle with Chief Executive Officer Steve Wynn’s casino operator to recover a 20 percent stake seized on allegations he was “unsuitable” as a controlling shareholder because of the alleged improper payments to Philippine officials.
Wynn forcibly redeemed the holding a year ago, paying Okada a $1.9 billion promissory note worth about 30 percent less at face value than the stake’s market price at the time.
The Universal chairman had helped Steve Wynn finance the casino operator that went public in October 2002 and was its largest individual shareholder until last February.
Okada had questioned a $135 million donation the company made to a Macau university foundation. He has said Wynn wanted him out because he opposed the university gift.
Wynn Resorts accused Okada of extending gifts and cash to Asian casino regulators in violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Okada denied the allegations.
The case is Wynn Resorts v. Okada, A-12-656710-B, Clark County District Court, Nevada (Las Vegas).