A former employee of Universal Entertainment Corp has filed a criminal complaint against the firm’s founder, Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada. In the complaint, Takafumi Nakano alleges Mr Okada ordered the payment of bribes to advance the still-unfinished Manila Bay Resorts in the Philippines, Reuters reports.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported seeing a copy of Mr Nakano’s complaint to Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office. The complaint was filed in late May. Mr Nakano has made similar claims in an ongoing civil defamation case against his former employer.
The criminal complaint marks the latest episode in the legal battle between Mr Okada and three former employees over alleged US$40 million in payments made in 2010 to advance the construction of the US$2-billion casino resort at Manila’s Entertainment City.
The alleged payments have been the subject of separate investigations by the Philippines Department of Justice, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Nevada gaming regulator.
In a lawsuit in 2012, Universal accused the three former employees of transferring a portion of the money without proper authorisation to companies reportedly linked to a politically connected consultant close to Efraim Genuino. At the time, Mr Genuino was chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the regulator-cum-operator of casino gaming in the Philippines.
In the complaint, Mr Nakano said Mr Okada ordered that the bulk of the money be paid to Rodolfo Soriano, a consultant with close ties to Mr Genuino, Reuters reported.
The complaint urges that Japanese prosecutors investigate and charge Mr Okada under the country’s law against bribing foreign officials.
Last month, Reuters reported that a lawyer working for Universal offered Mr Nakano a “certain level of compensation” for retracting his bribery claims.
Meanwhile, a panel of outside experts convened by Universal to investigate the case said last month it was disbanding.
Mr Okada may have to appear before members of the games and amusement committee of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, who expect the Japanese tycoon to personally explain allegations he put up dummy companies to meet his casino licence requirements.
If U.S. and Philippine authorities decide there is evidence of wrongdoing, Mr Okada and his companies could face prosecution for violation of anti-bribery laws in those countries.
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”We expect Goa to quickly become a US$1 billion market as it transitions to land-based casinos (from US$150 million today), which is still just a fraction of India’s total GGR potential of US$10 billion to US$17 billion”
Analyst at Union Gaming Securities Asia