Macau Graft Buster Says Wynn Land Deal Probe Under WayVinicy Chan
Macau’s anti-graft agency said it’s still examining a land deal by Wynn Resorts Ltd., a day after the U.S. company’s chairman Steve Wynn said he thought the probe was over.
“The relevant investigation is still under way,” the Commission Against Corruption of Macao said in an e-mail today, in response to questions from Bloomberg News. It declined to elaborate.
“They’re satisfied with the inspection,” Wynn said yesterday. The 72-year-old casino billionaire said he was unaware of further requests by Macau authorities for information from the company. Asked if the probe was over, he replied: “I think so.”
Wynn Resorts, based in Las Vegas, said in July it’s cooperating with the government agency on inquiries into the land purchase for the company’s new casino resort on Macau’s Cotai Strip. The Macau Business newspaper reported July 11 the agency is investigating why Wynn Resorts was made to pay 400 million patacas ($50 million) for the land rights.
Katharine Liu, spokeswoman of Wynn Resorts’ Hong Kong-listed unit Wynn Macau Ltd., said she couldn’t immediately comment.
The new Macau resort, called Wynn Palace, is on track to open in the spring of 2016, Wynn said yesterday.
“It’s totally mundane, irrelevant,” Wynn told reporters yesterday when asked about the investigation into the deal, after giving a speech to students at a local university. “Everything about the transaction is so crystal clear and clean that you could drink it like a bottled water,” he added.
Wynn Macau erased earlier gains to drop 1.7 percent to HK$25.35 at the close of Hong Kong trading. Wynn Resorts’ Nasdaq-listed shares rose 0.9 percent to close at $182.83 in New York, before the Macau agency’s response.
Gross gaming revenue in Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal, fell a third straight month in August as China’s anti-corruption campaign prompted high-rollers to avoid its gambling halls, hurting casinos’ earnings including at Wynn Macau.