Wynn Resorts Ltd., Paradise, Nevada, announced on Sunday that it forcibly bought out the 19.66% stake of estranged shareholder Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment Corp., Tokyo.
The move was made after Wynn revealed that it had discovered via internal investigation that Okada had made improper cash payments and gifts totaling US$110,000 to Filipino officials as bribes. Wynn justified the move by saying that according to its articles of incorporation, in order to protect its gambling license the company is allowed to redeem shares at “fair value” from “unsuitable” persons.
Okada is denying the legitimacy of the move, saying it will take all legal action necessary to protect its stake in Wynn.
“The decision by the Wynn board, which followed a rushed investigation that lacks absolute findings, to redeem Universal Entertainment’s nearly 20% holdings in Wynn Resorts based on its project in the Philippines is outrageous,” Universal Entertainment Corp. said in the statement.
The estrangement between the Okada and Wynn stems from the company’s 2011 decision to donate US$135 million to the University of Macau Development Foundation, a gift Okada disagreed with giving.