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Erik Gibbs February 10, 2022 2 min read
Kazuo Okada Ordered to Pay $50M Legal Fee Over Wynn Resorts Fight
Kazuo Okada received some good news last month when a court in the Philippines determined that he hadn’t committed fraud against a former business partner. That saved him over $3 million. However, his joy was short-lived. He’s now on the hook for $50 million to a law firm in the US. That payment is for a long-standing legal battle the Japanese billionaire waged with Wynn Resorts.
Okada Hit in the Wallet
According to Reuters, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit backed Tuesday an arbitrator’s 2019 decision that Okada must pay $50 million in fees to Bartlit Beck LLP for litigation regarding Wynn Resorts Ltd.
Bartlit Beck represented Okada when he took on Wynn Resorts over the unilateral redemption at a discount of several billion dollars in Wynn Resorts stock held by interests owned by Okada. In 2018, the case was settled and, soon after, Okada began his efforts to avoid the bill.
In July 2019, a panel made up of arbitrators heard the argument about attorney fees. According to the latest ruling, Okada had been involved in this process for more than a year, but he stopped before an evidentiary hearing.
The arbitration panel then awarded Bartlit Beck $50 million by default. The law firm petitioned the district court to confirm its award. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled unanimously in support of Bartlit Beck’s previous three-judge ruling.
Out of Excuses
Okada had claimed that the arbitration process without him was unfair and unreasonable. According to him, he claimed that he was unable to attend the arbitration proceedings in Chicago, IL, due to a “medical crisis.”
“A review of the relevant email correspondence…makes plain that, sick or not, Okada was not going to participate in the [arbitration] hearing,” stated the federal appeals court.
Bartlit Beck claims that Okada owes more than $63 million after accrued interest is added, according to Reuters.
Okada was once the head of Universal Entertainment Corporation. However, in 2017, his own board of directors pushed him out following allegations of embezzlement and misappropriation. Those charges were never confirmed.
The 72-year-old billionaire attempted to regain control of the company, but was unsuccessful. However, he can’t feel too bad about his current status. According to Forbes, in April of last year, he was worth about $1.7 billion.
Okada hasn’t commented on what he plans on doing next.
Erik brings his unique writing talents and storytelling flare to cover a wide range of gambling topics. He has written for a number of industry-related publications over the years, providing insight into the constantly evolving world of gaming. A huge sports fan, he especially enjoys football and anything related to sports gambling. Erik is particularly interested in seeing how sports gambling and online gaming are transforming the larger gaming ecosystem.
Legal February 10, 2022
Legal February 10, 2022