Japanese gaming entrepreneur Kazuo Okada was “detained”, posted bond and surrendered his passport after attending an interview with Hong Kong’s anti-graft watchdog, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
The events, that occurred in that city last week, were confirmed to GGRAsia in an emailed statement from Mr Okada and a follow up commentary from his representatives.
Mr Okada (pictured in a file photo) said the matter was in connection with what he termed a “groundless” investigation report commissioned by the current management of Japanese conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp, a group he founded but from which he is now estranged amid claims he defrauded the business of millions in U.S. dollars. He has always denied any wrongdoing.
The personal statement issued on behalf of Mr Okada said: “I have not been charged with any crime. ICAC’s investigation was from one of many, false allegations based on the groundless Universal Entertainment Corp special investigation report…”
The statement added: “Once this ICAC investigation is completed, Universal Entertainment Corp’s illegal management and the false accusations against me will once again be exposed for the frauds I know them to be.”
Mr Okada’s representatives confirmed that the Japanese entrepreneur “posted bond and gave his passport to ensure he would participate in process and [was] released”. The person added: “He was not charged with anything.”
In a filing on Monday, Universal Entertainment said it understood that Mr Okada had been “arrested by the ICAC in relation to various corruptions related offences”. The statement was based on enquiries with Hong Kong’s ICAC, said the Japanese company.
“Mr Okada … has no further connection with us whatsoever,” stated Universal Entertainment. “We will render our full support and assistance to the ICAC and other law enforcement authorities should the situation require,” it added.
According to the ICAC’s website, Hong Kong law grants it separate powers of arrest and of detention.
Surrender of passport
GGRAsia understands from sources close to Mr Okada that he was asked to go to ICAC and be questioned. As a non-Chinese, he had to post a bond and give his passport and was released. According to the source, no determination has yet been made on Universal Entertainment’s allegations.
It had earlier been reported by Philippine media – citing previous Chinese-language media reports – that Mr Okada had been “arrested” in Hong Kong.
A company domiciled in Hong Kong called Okada Holdings Ltd and linked to the Okada family has been at the centre of a tussle for control of Universal Entertainment. Okada Holdings holds a 67.9-percent stake in Universal Entertainment.
The Japanese gaming conglomerate announced in June last year that it had established an investigative panel to probe Mr Okada’s use of company money, saying it had found three cases in which the Japanese businessman was suspected of misappropriating company funds.
In November Universal Entertainment filed a lawsuit in Tokyo alleging damage by Mr Okada. A unit of Universal Entertainment filed in December in the High Court of Hong Kong a lawsuit alleging damage by Mr Okada. The subsidiary was seeking compensation of HKD136.05 million (US$17.4-million) from the Japanese businessman.
In March it was reported that in the Philippines – where Mr Okada had been involved in developing the Okada Manila casino project – the Department of Justice had issued a so-called Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order against him in connection with a criminal complaint brought against him by Okada Manila’s promoter, Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc.
The Japanese company announced in June this year that it would be moving with what it called an “organisational realignment” in order to bar Mr Okada from its casino business.
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"Our main focus is just making sure – and particularly within Australia – to the maximum extent possible, that we can have uniformity [among different jurisdictions]"
Chief executive of the Australia-based Gaming Technologies Association