Court: Okada Must Testify in Las Vegas

The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s ruling that Universal Entertainment chairman and former Wynn director Kazuo Okada (l.) must travel to Nevada for a lawsuit deposition.

Kazuo Okada, the Universal Entertainment chairman and former largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., has failed in his legal attempt to avoid traveling from his Hong Kong home base to the U.S. for a 10-day deposition in Las Vegas connected to his lawsuit against the company.

The Nevada Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s order requiring Okada to undergo 10 days of questioning in the U.S. by Wynn Resorts attorneys. Okada sued the operator after he was voted off the Wynn board of directors and forced to redeem his 20 percent stake in the company.

Wynn Resorts claims the action was taken due to allegations of bribery by Okada of Philippine gaming regulators in connection with a resort he is building there. The allegations claim Okada used a Universal subsidiary to funnel illegal payments to Philippine gaming officials. After finding Okada “unsuitable” and removing him from the Wynn board, the operator gave him a $1.9 billion promissory note for his stake in the company—which Okada claims is $800 below the market value of his shares.

Okada claims Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn forced him out because he had become the operator’s largest shareholder when Wynn lost half his stake due to his divorce from Elaine Wynn. The operator’s attorneys accuse Okada’s attorneys of slowing down the investigation through “obstructionist behavior.”

Wynn lawyers plan to grill Okada on the events that led to his ouster from the company. Universal Entertainment reported that Philippine investigators found no evidence of bribery, and told Bloomberg that the same result will come out of the U.S. probe.