The court case involving Wynn Resorts and former board member Kazuo Okada has been halted temporarily while U.S. authorities pursue a criminal investigation into possible bribery of Philippine officials by the Japanese billionaire, according to Businessweek.
A Nevada judge last month granted a request by the U.S. Justice Department to halt pretrial proceedings for six months while it looks into the allegations. But Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez warned the feds not to seek more than six months for the probe.
“Don’t come back asking for another six months, and another six months, because it ain’t going to happen,” she said at a hearing in Las Vegas.
Okada and his companies?Universal Entertainment of Japan and Nevada-based Aruze USA?are under investigation in the United States for potential violations of anti-bribery laws in relation to a $2 billion casino project in the Philippines, according to a court filing made last month by U.S. federal prosecutors, Reuters reported.
Sources tell GGB that the federal government is close to indicting Okada and that continued discovery in the Wynn case would have threatened those indictments.
Last year, Wynn Resorts sued Okada for breach of fiduciary duty and forcibly redeemed his 20 percent stake in the Las Vegas casino company, claiming his payments to the Philippine government, if deemed to be illegal, would put Wynn’s gaming licenses at risk. Okada filed counterclaims in an attempt to reclaim his shares.
Okada has denied any wrongdoing in the Philippines and said he was ousted from the Wynn board because he opposed Wynn’s $135 million donation to the University of Macau Development Foundation. Okada pointed to what he says is questionable timing of the 2011 donation, which was followed soon after by the granting of land concessions in Macau to Wynn.