A US$2.4-billion settlement announced by casino group Wynn Resorts Ltd relating to forced redemption of some its stock held by Aruze USA Inc was a proof of personal “innocence” regarding allegations previously made by Wynn Resorts, said Japanese gaming entrepreneur Kazuo Okada (pictured), in an interview with Hong Kong Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao Daily.
In 2012 Mr Okada was ejected from the Wynn Resorts board after the casino firm claimed he was “unsuitable” and a risk to its licences. Mr Okada was at that time the representative of Wynn Resorts’ biggest single shareholding interest, held via Aruze USA, a subsidiary of Universal Entertainment Corp. Both the latter firms were founded by Mr Okada.
But Mr Okada told Sing Tao Daily on Wednesday that the announced settlement fell short of his own expectations, adding he had “not been consulted” about it.
In a February filing to Jasdaq, Universal Entertainment said that as of October 31, 2017 – and according to what it described as an “expert report” – it should be entitled to approximately US$4.5 billion in damages “for the invalid redemption” of the Wynn Resorts shares.
In any case, Universal Entertainment said in a March 9 filing, that Mr Okada was not a party to the settlement that had been reached. Universal Entertainment has separately been in dispute with its founder. It has accused him – among other things – of “three acts of fraudulence” in relation to company funds. Mr Okada has denied wrongdoing.
In his Wednesday interview, the Japanese businessman touched on some events that have coincided with his estrangement from the group he founded. They have included family in-fighting – involving some of his own children – regarding Okada Holdings Ltd, the Hong Kong entity that reportedly owns two-thirds of Universal Entertainment.
Sing Tao said that Mr Okada’s daughter, Hiromi Okada, had last week complained to the commercial crime bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force that she was “scammed” of her 9.78-percent stake in Okada Holdings by, respectively, her brother Tomohiro Okada; the president of Universal Entertainment Jun Fujimoto; and two directors of Okada Holdings that Sing Tao didn’t name. The news outlet said the 9.78-percent stake in Okada Holdings was worth nearly HK$1.4 billion.
Before going to the police, Ms Okada had asked Hong Kong’s High Court to “invalidate” a transfer to her brother Tomohiro Okada of her shares in Okada Holdings.
Speaking to Sing Tao Daily, Kazuo Okada said he would like to see his daughter regain her shares in Okada Holdings via a civil lawsuit. When asked whether the case could be settled outside the court, Mr Okada said that he understood it was important to communicate directly with his son; but he had not been able to do so.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China