Japanese gaming conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp has linked founder Kazuo Okada to two new alleged cases of “illegal activities”, announced the firm on Monday.
The group had already announced on June 8 it was suspending the leadership powers held by Mr Okada (pictured), accusing him and a fellow director of “a serious violation of governance” in relation to a March 2015 transfer of an HKD135-million (US$17.3-million) loan from an entity called Tiger Resort Asia Ltd, a Hong Kong subsidiary of the group. A special investigation committee formed by Universal Entertainment – described as three external experts cooperating with in-house auditors – was named to probe the case.
In its latest release, Universal Entertainment stated: “Recently it came to the attention of the special investigation committee that there is a suspicion that Mr Okada has been involved in [another] two cases of illegal activities” separate from the case initially announced.
Universal Entertainment is the parent company of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc. The latter is the promoter of the Okada Manila casino resort in the Philippines. Tiger Resort announced on Friday it had removed Mr Okada as company chairman.
According to Universal Entertainment’s Monday release, one of the new cases relates to a February 2014 loan for “land transactions” in South Korea by Okada Holdings Ltd – a company said to be entirely owned by Mr Okada and his relatives, and of which the Japanese entrepreneur was the only director at the time of the reported loan.
Universal Entertainment says Mr Okada is suspected of using a wholly-owned Universal Entertainment subsidiary – named Universal Entertainment Korea Co Ltd – to create a security interest for a US$80-million financing deal for Okada Holdings Ltd from an unnamed financial institution. It is claimed Mr Okada did so without complying with Universal Entertainment’s internal procedures for such matters.
Universal Entertainment’s release stated that although the security interest arrangement “was cancelled on March 31 of the same year, approximately US$170,000 – the amount of interest that was supposed to be paid by Okada Holdings Ltd to the financial institution – [was] disbursed by Universal Entertainment Korea”.
In the other new case disclosed in Monday’s release, Mr Okada is suspected of withdrawing US$16 million from a Tiger Resort Asia bank account in May 2015 based on a bearer cheque issued by himself.
“As the series of actions leading up to the withdrawal of the fund… have been done without necessary internal procedures of the company, there is a suspicion that they constitute a serious violation of governance,” Universal Entertainment stated.
The firm’s release added that a special investigation committee previously announced to investigate the Tiger Resort Asia loan was now “determined to investigate… these new suspicions in order to clarify the whole picture and to formulate measures to prevent reoccurrence”.
Universal Entertainment had previously announced the special investigation committee was to submit to the company “on or around June 30” what the conglomerate termed “an interim investigative report” into Mr Okada’s actions. In its Monday release the firm said this interim report might now be delayed in view of the new matters brought to the company’s attention.
“In consideration of the fact that two cases of illegal activities allegedly related to Mr Okada have been newly uncovered and… the number of cases to be investigated increased to three, the company will inform… of any change in the timing [for] submitting the interim report,” it stated.
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Aggregate gross gaming revenue generated by the Philippines casino industry in the second quarter of 2017