The Tokyo District Court has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada against United States-based casino operator Wynn Resorts and some of its top executives, saying the case should not be handled by a Japanese tribunal. Wynn Resorts‘ representative in Japan confirmed on Tuesday that the case was indeed dismissed, the argument being that Wynn Resorts made public a report in early 2012 alleging business misconduct by Okada in South Korea and the Philippines.
The Tokyo District Court judge said in the ruling that the legal battle between Okada and Wynn Resorts is technically based in the U.S., hence the reason for the dismissal. The ruling was made on Monday, and is just one of the several legal battles between Okada and his former business partner, Wynn Resorts Chief Executive Steve Wynn. The lawsuit was filed in August 2012 by the Japanese billionaire through one of his holding companies and Universal Entertainment. Okada had sought 11.2 billion yen (around US$114 million) in damages from Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn and other executives. A spokesman for Universal had declined to comment on the result of the case, and Okada’s legal representative was not immediately available for comment.
Parallel to these lawsuits, Okada and his companies are also under investigation in the United States for potential violations of anti-bribery laws in relation to a $2 billion casino project in the Philippines, according to a court filing made earlier this year by U.S. federal prosecutors. The Department of Justice in the Philippines is also investigating Okada and his companies separately for alleged bribery and violations of foreign ownership restrictions in setting up land-holding companies for the casino project. Amid all these, Okada has denied that he is at fault in lawsuits and cases for his project in the Philippines. Universal has also filed a defamation suit against the news agency Reuters in Tokyo for its publication of a report saying that Okada had allegedly made around $40 million in payments in relation to the casino project on Manila Bay.
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