Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked to interview him in connection with its inquiry into Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s $135 million donation to the University of Macau.
Okada cited the agency’s request in a May 3 filing in Nevada state court in Las Vegas. Okada, who Wynn Resorts is trying to remove from its board of directors, asked the judge to expedite a hearing on his renewed request to inspect the casino operator’s books and records.
“If ever there were a time when a director needed inspection, it is now,” Okada’s lawyers said in the filing. “The other directors, under the control of Mr. Wynn, and for their own financial self interest, have closed ranks against Mr. Okada.”
Okada held the largest single stake in Wynn Resorts through his Tokyo-based Universal Entertainment Corp. until February. Then, in an escalating battle with founder and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Wynn, his 20 percent stake in Wynn Resorts was forcibly redeemed because, the company said, he was “unsuitable.”
Books and Records
Okada sought a court order in January that, as a director, he was entitled to inspect Wynn Resort’s books and records regarding its pledge last year to the University of Macau. Nevada state court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ordered Wynn Resorts to produce only two more pages of documents to Okada.
In his renewed request, Okada seeks additional documents from 2000 through 2002 regarding entertainment of and contacts with Macau government officials and documents explaining the company’s use of $120 million he invested in 2002.
A hearing is scheduled in Las Vegas on May 17.
Wynn Resorts sued Okada Feb. 19, alleging that Okada is developing two casinos and three hotels in Manila and that he seeks to lure “high-limit, VIP gamblers” from China in direct competition with Wynn’s casino in Macau. The company said in a statement that day that an investigation found that Okada appeared to have paid $110,000 to gaming regulators in the Philippines in violation of U.S. anti-corruption laws.
Okada filed counterclaims challenging the redemption of his own 20 percent stake in the company at an $800 million discount, saying Wynn Resorts is run by Steve Wynn as a “personal fiefdom.”
“Mr. Okada has refused to allow his attorneys to accept service of the lawsuit filed against him,” Robert Shapiro, a lawyer for Wynn Resorts, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “This is his attempt to obtain discovery without submitting to the jurisdiction of the court.”
The case is Okada v. Wynn Resorts, A-12-654522-B, District Court, Clark County Nevada (Las Vegas),