* Investigation related to $50 mln payment to little-known
* Wynn says not notified by authorities
(Includes comment from Macau corruption commission)
HONG KONG, July 11 Macau's corruption agency
said on Friday it is examining a land deal relating to Las Vegas
mogul Steve Wynn's upcoming $4 billion casino in the world's
biggest gambling hub.
The anti-graft body is investigating after the U.S.-based
International Union of Operating Engineers asked the Macau
government to provide more details on how a little-known company
secured rights to land before it was granted to Wynn.
The land is now part of Macau's multi-billion-dollar
gambling precinct known as the Cotai Strip, where Wynn's Wynn
Macau Ltd is set to open its second casino resort in
"The case is now under investigation," the anti-graft agency
said in an email to Reuters, adding it was not able to comment
further on the issue.
Wynn, one of six licensed casino operators in the southern
Chinese territory, is on track to open its opulent Wynn Palace
project in the first half of 2016, featuring facilities such as
a massive lake and air-conditioned gondolas.
Wynn Resorts said it had not been contacted by any
government agencies on the issue. "If we were we would fully
cooperate," the company wrote in an email to Reuters.
The union, which counts hundreds of Las Vegas-based
engineers among its members, has been pushing for greater
transparency around Wynn's land purchases in Macau. In
particular, it has expressed concern about a $50 million payment
Wynn was asked to make to an entity with possible links to
politically connected officials in order to establish itself on
the Cotai Strip.
Macau's Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau said on
Wednesday the land grant followed legal procedures, according to
Wynn has said in company filings it agreed in 2008 to pay
$50 million to Macau-registered Tien Chiao Entertainment and
Investment Co Ltd in exchange for the company relinquishing its
rights to what is now Wynn's Cotai site.
Tien Chiao's identity is not clear to multiple Macau lawyers
and analysts who Reuters has interviewed on the matter. The
company was incorporated in October 2005, according to registry
The two registered company representatives are Ho Hoi, a
Chinese national with a Hong Kong ID number, and Chinese
national Zhang Luchuan who lives in Beijing. It has not been
possible to locate either of them.
(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Stephen Coates)