|By Madelaine B. Miraflor, The Manila
Times, PhilippinesMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 15, 2012--THE chairman of Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts, Stephen "Steve" Wynn, has been charged with libel before the Paranaque City Prosecutor's Office for his alleged defamatory statement against Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada and his companies.
The companies that were involved in the statement are the Philippine subsidiary Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc.
In a disclosure to the Japanese Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation Securities Exchange on Thursday, Okada's Universal Entertainment Group said that its local subsidiary, Tiger Resort, filed the complaint, charging Wynn of maliciously issuing a global press release containing libelous accusations against him and his group of companies.
The case was filed in Paranaque where Tiger Resort holds office.
Tiger Resort, a subsidiary of Universal Entertainment Group, is the operating company of Manila Bay Resorts project in Manila's Entertainment City in Paranaque.
In its complaint, Tiger Resort said that the subject press release, which was published on February 19, 2012 on Wynn Resort website had caused undue harm to Okada's character and his business interests.
"The primer on cybercrime issued by the Department of Justice on November 26, 2012, provides that as of the moment, cybercrime-related cases are dealt with using existing laws.
This means that internet libel may be 'dealt with' or prosecuted under the existing provisions of the Revised Penal Code on libel," Tiger Resort said in its complaint.
The complaint stated that the dispute between Okada and Wynn started from the former's opposition to an anomalous donation pledged by Wynn Macau Limited, a subsidiary of Wynn Resorts in Macau.
Okada's actions apparently did not sit well with Wynn in fear of an investigation that would reveal that the purpose for the huge donation in Macau was improper and illegal, it was added.
This prompted Wynn to use the Philippine project as a pretext to eliminate and take over Okada's stockholdings through Universal Entertainment Corp. and Aruze USA Inc. and remove him from Wynn Resorts, it was stressed.
The board meeting of Wynn Resorts accused Okada and his companies of allegedly engaging in corrupt activities in connection with the Manila Bay Resorts project, based on the supposition that "the Philippines is a corrupt country," Tiger Resort said.
The board further determined that Okada was to be dismissed from his position as vice chairman of Wynn Resorts, it was added.
Wynn thereafter hired Louis Freeh and his firm, the Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP, to conduct an investigation of the alleged corrupt activities of Okada and his companies, it was stated.
According to Tiger Resort, the investigation appeared to be an afterthought and was commissioned for the purpose of providing justification for the baseless findings of the Compliance Committee.
Wynn also caused the distribution of the Freeh Report copies to the press, enabling several newspapers to publish the content and subsequently the publication of the subject press release, the complaint stated.
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