Change of Luck for Wynn’s Macau Director

Fireworks lit up the Wynn Macau during its opening ceremony in September 2006. / REUTERS

Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada – who had been a Wynn Macau director and the largest shareholder of U.S.-based casino company Wynn Resorts – could face corruption charges after a company investigation alleged Okada bribed numerous Philippine gaming officials.

Wynn Resorts, run by Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn, abruptly moved to buy out Okada’s shares over the weekend, initiated a lawsuit against him, and wants him to quit his role on the board.

As the Macau Daily Times reports, a year-long company investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh found “more than three dozen instances over a three-year period in which Mr. Okada and his associates engaged in improper activities.” That included about $110,000 in cash payments and gifts to “two chief gaming regulators” in the Philippines.

Sources told Macau Daily Times “the probe was carried out on the ground by a local company linked to the gaming industry and that the report’s conclusions have been sent to the U.S. judicial bodies” – but that Okada may have “breached Macau laws as well” and could face charges there, too.

Okada has indicated he plans to fight back, and is denying any wrongdoing.

Sweep to Wynn director could face Macau bribery charges

Nepal has marked a first for itself: sending a sitting member of the government’s cabinet to prison on corruption charges.

The country’s Supreme Court sentenced Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta – Nepal’s information and communications minister – to 18 months in prison, plus fined him 8.4 million Nepalese rupees (about $106,000).

The fine is roughly equal to the illicit income Gupta was accused of gaining through corruption, particularly through a series of shady land deals.

As the Himalayan Times reports, the government’s Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority “had accused Gupta of purchasing land in Kathmandu, Duwakot of Bhaktapur and Dharampur of Saptari and hiding millions of rupees in banks.”

Sweep to Minister Gupta gets 1.5 years for corruption

Public officials in New Mexico who are convicted of corruption now face stiffer penalties – including the loss of their pensions or other benefits they previously would have been allowed to keep.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed the new legislation into law this week, with bi-partisan support from state lawmakers, Albuquerque television station KRQE reports.

The new law “will allow a judge who is sentencing an individual convicted of public corruption to levy fines that are equivalent to the individual’s salary, pension, and fringe benefits,” according to KRQE.

Martinez, in signing the bill, said that “corrupt public officials should not be allowed the benefit of their taxpayer-funded salaries and pensions” and claimed the measure “sends a strong message that corruption in New Mexico will not stand.”

Sweep to Martinez signs bill increasing financial penalties for corrupt officials

Aaron Kessler

Aaron Kessler

Aaron Kessler is an award-winning journalist who for nearly a decade has investigated a wide range of subjects from financial crimes by corporations and individuals, to politics and government abuses at the local, state and federal levels, to terrorist financing networks.