Wynn Wants Okada Lawsuit Sent Back to Nevada State Court

Wynn Resorts Ltd. wants its lawsuit against Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada sent back to Nevada state court, arguing its removal to federal court was part of a “scheme to manipulate the legal process and to forum shop.”

Wynn said in a request filed in federal court yesterday in Las Vegas that its claims of breach of fiduciary against Okada involve only state law issues. Okada moved the case to federal court to avoid having it heard by the same state court judge who ruled against him in his attempt to gain access to Wynn’s books and records, according to the filing.

“Defendants experimented in state court and, after receiving an unquestionably adverse decision, moved to do whatever they could to start anew,” Wynn’s lawyers said. “Defendants purposefully used the removal process as an improper attempt to forum shop.”

Wynn, based in Las Vegas, sued Okada in February and redeemed his 20 percent stake in the casino operator saying he was “unsuitable” based on findings that he made improper payments to Philippine gambling officials. Okada last month removed the case to federal court, saying the underlying issue was whether he violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Okada, who Wynn seeks to remove from the board of directors, also filed counterclaims in federal court, alleging that Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn runs the company as his “personal fiefdom” and asking the court to invalidate the redemption of his shares at an $800 million discount.

Jim Golden, a spokesman for Okada’s Universal Entertainment Corp., didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the filing.

The case is Wynn Resorts v. Okada, 12-00400, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas.)

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