Investigations encircle Wynn Resorts

March 3, 2012 at 10:22 AM
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MACAO, March 3 (UPI) -- A variety of investigations have sprung up concerning the ouster of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada from international gaming firm Wynn Resorts.

Gambling regulators in Macao have requested information from the company that bought out Okada's nearly 19 percent share in the company after an in-house investigation that concluded Okada had made questionable gifts to a Philippine gambling official.

Okada, in turn, has expressed concern over a donation of $135 million to the University of Macao made by his former business partner Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas gambling magnate.

The New York Times said the Wynn-Okada partnership is like a marriage that has soured. With the industry struggling in Las Vegas, the company's resort in Macao helped keep the company in the black last year.

The company plans to build a second Macao resort and open one in the Philippines. That has made any generosity to officials in each location highly suspicious.

Officials in Nevada have also said they are keeping an eye on the breakup between the two gambling big shots.

"We are looking at it and will evaluate it and come to our own conclusions," said Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli.

In a 2008 conference call, Wynn told reporters, "I love Kazuo Okada as much as any man that I've ever met in my life."

But a new mood of suspicion has taken over.

"Our license would be put under a cloud if we were to not take action, waiting for someone else to do so," Robert Miller, the chairman of Wynn Resorts' compliance committee, said in late February.

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