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June 24, 2021

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Judge orders more briefing in Wynn/Okada document dispute

A Nevada state judge on Thursday indicated she needs more information before deciding whether Wynn Resorts Ltd. must turn over more records to board member and Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada.

Okada has been locked in litigation with the rest of the Wynn board, including billionaire CEO Steve Wynn, after Wynn Resorts moved to remove him from the company this year. That was after Wynn Resorts learned Okada, in its view, had provided improper benefits to Filipino casino regulators while trying to gain a casino license for himself in the Philippines.

Okada, in the meantime, has been questioning Wynn Resorts’ pledge to donate $135 million to the University of Macau in China, where Wynn has a valuable casino license.

With lawsuits pending pitting Wynn Resorts against Okada and pitting shareholders against Wynn board members, including Okada, Okada attorneys on Thursday asked Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez to require Wynn to turn over records, including documents on how Wynn Resorts may have entertained and provided benefits to Macau officials while seeking its casino license there in the early 2000s.

James Pisanelli, one of the attorneys for Wynn in court Thursday, called this a “charade” and asked Gonzalez to shut down the Okada document demand petition.

He said Okada’s real goal is to gain facts without going through the usual discovery procedures in the main lawsuit pitting Wynn Resorts against Okada. Pisanelli also complained Okada has refused to accept service of the main Wynn lawsuit against him.

Pisanelli reiterated that there are no documents to be found concerning Wynn entertaining or providing benefits to casino regulators and other government officials.

He said that while Okada has called this practice acceptable in Asia, “This is a practice abhored and flatly banned by Wynn Resorts.”

Gonzalez granted Okada’s motion to amend a document demand filed in her court in January, giving him a chance to continue seeking additional information. She didn’t require Wynn to immediately turn over any documents, instead requiring Okada’s attorneys to file briefs explaining how each of his demands relates to his position as a Wynn Resorts director.

Wynn attorneys then will have a chance to file a reply brief. Gonzalez set a June 28 hearing on whether Okada’s document demands as a director are reasonable.

In Okada’s initial document demand petition, Gonzalez in March ordered Wynn to turn over just two pages of information related to the University of Macau donation pledge. That was after Wynn provided Okada with 898 pages of requested documents.

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