Wynn Asks to Remove Okada From Board in Special Holder Vote

Wynn Resorts Ltd. asked investors to approve the removal of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada as a director, after accusing him of making improper payments to Philippines gambling officials.

Wynn Resorts called for a special meeting of shareholders to vote on the ejection following a Feb. 18 decision by the board that Okada and certain affiliates are “unsuitable persons,” according to a statement today by the Las Vegas-based hotel and casino operator. The date hasn’t been set.

Okada improperly gave more than $110,000 in payments and gifts to regulators in the Philippines and their families, Wynn Resorts said in a Feb. 19 statement. The company forcibly redeemed the stake held by Okada’s Universal Entertainment Corp. at a 30 percent discount to its then market price. His removal and the redemption escalated a clash between founder and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Wynn and Okada, the man who helped bankroll Wynn Resorts starting 12 years ago.

James Golden, a spokesman for Universal Entertainment, said Okada wasn’t immediately able to comment on Wynn Resorts’ statement today.

The billionaire said, in a statement read to lawmakers in Manila last month, that he would “vigorously” continue his $2 billion casino project in the Philippines and prove “that all of the accusations are baseless and are lies that have been blown out of proportion.”

Okada, the former vice chairman at Wynn Resorts, sued the casino operator in state court in Clark County, Nevada, in January for access to financial records. Okada opposed the company’s HK$1 billion ($129 million) pledge in July 2011 to the University of Macau Development Foundation, according to the complaint. A hearing is scheduled in Las Vegas tomorrow at 9 a.m. local time.

Wynn Resorts rose 2.4 percent to $122.20 at 3:26 p.m. in New York. The stock has fallen 8.7 percent in the 12 months before today, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 1.7 percent.

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