Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada (pictured) has reportedly reacted to last week’s signing of the $2.4 billion settlement deal between Wynn Resorts Limited and Universal Entertainment Corporation by stating that the agreement is proof of his ‘innocence’ regarding bribery allegations.
According to a story from GGRAsia citing a report from Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao Daily, septuagenarian Okada declared that he had ‘not been consulted’ about the March 8 settlement agreement, which is due to be fully honored by the end of the month, but that the deal was evidence of the incorrect nature of earlier claims that he had been ‘unsuitable’ to sit on the board of Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts Limited.
The newspaper reported that the whole matter stems from a 2010 deal that saw Tokyo-headquartered gaming machine manufacturer Universal Entertainment Corporation via its Aruze USA Incorporated subordinate become the largest stakeholder in Wynn Resorts Limited after purchasing some 24.55 million shares. However, this relationship soon soured due to allegations that billionaire Okada, who was then the Japanese firm’s Chairman, had earlier illegally bribed gaming officials in the Philippines in order to realize his $2 billion Okada Manila integrated casino resort.
Wynn Resorts Limited, which was thrown into turmoil early last month following the resignation of its own Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Steve Wynn, subsequently reacted to the allegations against Okada by forcibly redeeming Aruze USA Incorporated’s shares at a discount. This action reportedly set off years of legal proceedings that could have eventually resulted in the Nevada firm being compelled to pay damages to Universal Entertainment Corporation worth up to $4.5 million.
Despite Okada’s recent assertion, a March 9 statement (pdf) from Universal Entertainment Corporation detailed that its former boss had not been ‘a party’ to its settlement with Wynn Resorts Limited and that the deal had not given him ‘a release of any kind’.
“Further, the company and Wynn Resorts [Limited] have agreed to reasonably cooperate with each other in any future litigation against third parties,” read the Friday statement from Universal Entertainment Corporation.