Okada files criminal complaint against Wynn in Japan

Thu May 1, 2014 1:12am EDT
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TOKYO (Reuters) - Universal Entertainment Corp (6425.T: Quote) and its billionaire founder Kazuo Okada have filed a criminal complaint against Wynn Resorts Ltd (WYNN.O: Quote) and its CEO Steve Wynn in Japan on allegations of defamation.

The complaint marks the latest salvo in a long-running feud between the two former business partners.

Universal said in a statement on Wednesday that it submitted the complaint with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on April 24, accusing the U.S. casino operator and its CEO of "defamation, harm to public trust and circulation of rumors" in relation to the publication of an investigation into Universal's conduct in the Philippines.

The investigation was commissioned by Wynn and made public in early 2012.

In an emailed statement, Wynn said the criminal complaint was an attempt by Okada "to create a distraction from the investigations pending against him".

Wynn said the complaint was related to a previously filed civil defamation case that a Tokyo court, ruling it should not be tried in Japan, dismissed last year. Universal is appealing that ruling.

Universal filed the civil defamation case after Wynn published its investigation into Okada in February 2012, alleging his company improperly offered gifts and entertainment to gaming officials in South Korea and the Philippines.

Universal has acknowledged spending a total of $110,000 over three years on such outlays, but maintains they did not constitute a violation of U.S. anti-bribery laws.

Following the investigation, Wynn said Okada was unsuitable as a director of Wynn Resorts and redeemed Okada's 20 percent stake in Wynn Resorts at a discount.   Continued...

Universal Entertainment Corporation CEO Kazuo Okada poses during an interview in Hong Kong October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip