One of the 17 people named in a report commissioned in 2011 regarding an alleged “improper relationship” between former Steve Wynn partner and casino owner in the Philippines, Kazuo Okada, and executives, officials and consultants of the country’s regulator and local run-casino Pagcor (Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation), is biting back, in a Macau court, with a law suit that will have its first hearing in the Court of First Instance next month.
According to information obtained by Business Daily, Rogelio Yusi Bangsil Jr., an Officer in Charge of Pagcor’s Gaming Department in 2010, and his wife, Suzzanne, were named as two of 17 people, who according to the Louis J. Freeh report, received more than US$110,000 (MOP880,000) in gifts and payments, including hotel nights in Macau and Las Vegas.
Louis Freeh, a director of the FBI from 1993 to 2001, during both the Clinton and Bush administrations, conducted his investigation of Kazuo Okada when he was at his previous firm: Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan LLP. He is now a partner at Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP. His work was requested by a special committee of Wynn’s board, when Steve Wynn and Okada were already clashing publicly.
Pay off report says
The report accused Okada of paying off Philippine gaming regulators, including the two former chairmen of Pagcor. Wynn Resorts blamed Okada, who also owns Aruze’s parent company, Universal Entertainment Corp., of violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and company policy. Okada was awarded one of four casino licenses granted by the Philippine’s regulator in 2008 and 2009 to build and operate a Manila entertainment hub with casinos.
The report on the allegations of misconduct by the Japanese mogul was seen as a manoeuvre to oust Okada as a majority shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd.
On the same day the report was released, on February 18, 2012, Wynn Resorts redeemed 24.54 million shares of Wynn Resorts stock owned by Aruze USA Inc., owned by Okada. Aruze, with its 20 per cent share, was the largest Wynn Resorts shareholder at the time.
Wynn said the payments uncovered by Freeh were evidence that Okada was “unsuitable” to serve as a director of the Las Vegas-based company. The Japanese billionaire was then forced to accept US$1.9 billion for his shares, a 30 percent discount on the market value, according to international news agencies.
In March 2012, the Macau Office for Personal Data Protection fined Wynn Macau MOP20,000 (US$2,500) for two violations of the Personal Data Protection Act. The reason: leaking private customer data to the former FBI Director. “Information can only be collected for specific and legitimate purposes and any information gathered can only be used within Macau. It can only be transferred to outside of the territory in special occasions,” which was not the case on this occasion, explained the Office.
Now, Rogelio Yusi Bangsil Jr. is taking the gaming operator to court, in Macau, disputing the results of the Freeh Report sent to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which listed him and his wife as two of 17 Pagcor officials, board members, consultants and family members who stayed at Wynn Macau between June 2008 and June 2011.
Business Daily attempted to get comments from Wynn Resorts and Rogelio Bangsil Jr. but neither responded to our requests by the time this story went to print.