By Sue Zeidler
LOS ANGELES Nov 16 One of the law firms
representing Japanese pachinko tycoon Kazuo Okada in a bitter
legal dispute against Wynn Resorts Ltd has withdrawn
from the case, a lawyer from the firm said on Friday.
Paul Spagnoletti, an attorney with the New York offices
of Davis, Polk, Wardwell LLP, said his firm has stopped
representing the Japanese businessman, who is trying to reverse
Wynn's decision to redeem Okada's shares in the company at a
Spagnoletti would not cite a reason for the sudden
withdrawal, but said his firm had filed court papers declaring
its withdrawal. Okada was not available for comment.
Okada -- formerly Wynn Resort's largest shareholder through
his subsidiaries -- and CEO Steve Wynn are locked in a legal
dispute across several cases and courthouses, a dramatic
reversal for the two former partners and friends.
Their friendship deteriorated in 2011 over accusations,
which Okada has denied, that the Japanese entrepreneur made
improper payments to try and push through a pet project of his
in the Philippines.
Then in February, Wynn dramatically and forcibly bought back
Okada's stake -- valued then at $2.7 billion -- at a 30 percent
discount after an internal probe by former FBI director Louis
Freeh revealed Okada had allegedly violated U.S. anti-corruption
The Asian businessman, who made his fortune making and
marketing "pachinko" game machines, is also trying to get a U.S.
court to reverse that share redemption.
In the latest twist to their ongoing legal brawl, U.S.
gaming regulators are investigating millions of dollars paid by
affiliates of Okada's Universal Entertainment Corp to
a former consultant for the Philippine gaming authority -- right
around the time his company was lobbying to win concessions for
a $2 billion Manila casino.