A federal judge sitting in California in the United States has dismissed a second attempt by casino entrepreneur Steve Wynn to bring a defamation suit against American hedge fund manager Jim Chanos. The judge said the investment manager’s relevant comments were opinions and did “not amount to a statement of fact”.
The suit was first filed in September. In it Mr Wynn (pictured), chairman of Wynn Resorts Ltd and of Macau casino operator and developer Wynn Macau Ltd, had accused Mr Chanos of slandering him during an invitation-only symposium at the University of California at Berkeley, in April 2014.
Mr Wynn had said that Mr Chanos had accused him and Wynn Resorts of being in violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in its activities in Macau. The Wynn chairman had countered that Wynn Resorts had been “thoroughly investigated” by regulators already.
U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III first dismissed the suit in December saying Mr Chanos’ opinions about casinos in Macau were too vague even to imply that Wynn violated the FCPA, according to that decision.
In the latest ruling, the suit was dismissed with prejudice, with Wynn’s side required to pay Mr Chanos’ legal expenses.
“I need look no further than the transcript and video of the symposium to conclude that Chanos’s words do not amount to a statement of fact, but rather an opinion that is not actionable. For these reasons, and because I grant Chanos’s motion to dismiss,” the judge wrote in his decision.
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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