Universal files criminal complaint against Wynn in Philippines

TOKYO Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:50am EST

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Universal Entertainment Corp said it had filed a criminal complaint in the Philippines against Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn, accusing him of libel over allegations of improper payments.

Universal said in a statement on Thursday it had filed the complaint through Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, a subsidiary in the Philippines that has been granted a provisional license to operate a $2 billion casino it is developing on Manila Bay.

Universal's complaint relates to allegations in an internal investigation, the results of which were published on Wynn Resorts' website.

The complaint is the latest twist in a nearly year-long quarrel between Universal founder Kazuo Okada and Wynn. They have sued each other in the United States and Okada has filed a defamation suit against his former partner in Japan.

In February, Wynn stripped Okada of a 20 percent shareholding in Wynn Resorts through Okada's U.S. subsidiary, Aruze. Wynn Resorts said Okada was unsuitable to continue as a board member of the company after an internal investigation alleged Okada appeared to have violated U.S. anti-corruption laws through payments it had made.

Details of the investigation, by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, appear on Wynn Resorts website.

"The investigation was clearly an afterthought and was commissioned for the purpose of providing justification for the baseless findings of the Compliance Committee," Universal said in a press release on Thursday.

Wynn Resorts could not immediately be reached for comment.

Universal, Japan's largest maker of pachinko gaming machines, said Okada was ousted because he objected to a $135 million donation made by Wynn Resorts in Macau.

In early December, Okada and Universal said they had filed a libel action against Reuters and others over news articles relating to payments Universal made to an ex-consultant to the Philippine gaming authority.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

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