Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment Corp said in filing to Jasdaq on Friday it would continue to delay publicising the results of an arms-length report it commissioned into the “outgo of US$30 million in total in 2010”. It cited the fact there was an ongoing criminal inquiry into the matter.
The filing confirmed Universal Entertainment had on May 29 filed criminal charges with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office against a former company employee, based on the results of the report. The filing didn’t name the person.
In early June it was reported that a former employee of Universal Entertainment had himself in May filed a criminal complaint against Mr Okada. In that complaint, Takafumi Nakano alleged Mr Okada – who made his first fortune making pachinko machines in Japan – ordered the payment of bribes to advance the under-construction US$2.3-billion Manila Bay Resorts casino property (pictured in an artist’s rendering) in the Philippines.
In mid-June, a lawyer for Universal Entertainment said there was “no basis to allegations that improper payments were made to obtain preferential treatment.”
Universal Entertainment said on Friday of its own arms-length report: “Disclosing the interim report… would be inappropriate at this stage, given the possibility that such disclosure could cause obstructions to the investigation”.
Alleged illegal payments linked to the Manila Bay Resorts scheme have been the subject of separate investigations by the Philippines Department of Justice, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Nevada’s gaming regulator.
In July last year, a report commissioned by Universal Entertainment said a former director of the firm had altered minutes of a meeting to suggest executives had collectively approved a US$25 million payment.
In September, Manila Bay Resorts’ developer Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, a firm led by Mr Okada, said the property was on schedule for a first phase opening in late 2015.
In early October, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the country’s gaming regulator, said it was considering ordering the forfeiture of a PHP100 million (US$2.2 million) guarantee lodged by Mr Okada’s side. It said that might happen if he failed to open Manila Bay Resorts in early 2015 as per an investment agreement.
It’s been reported that stalled negotiations over a majority local partner for the land on which the casino resort sits – as required by Philippines law – have led to delays in the project.
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”Ramp ups [of new Macau casinos] are taking a little bit longer. The market is somewhat volatile at the moment, but we continue to look at all the opportunities and are still very comfortable that things are starting to move ahead”
Chief executive of MGM China Holdings