The Nevada Gaming Control Board investigation in the United States into Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada is “ongoing”, the body said in a Wednesday email to GGRAsia. The news of the ongoing probe is notwithstanding the entrepreneur’s exclusion from the board of the Japanese gaming group he founded, and from a holding company used to control some of his family’s business interests.
On Monday, a filing to Jasdaq from Universal Entertainment Corp, a Japanese conglomerate that was until recently chaired by Mr Okada, said that an investigation the group commissioned found he had engaged in “three acts of fraudulence”, by not going through proper company channels regarding transactions amounting in value to nearly US$100 million.
“Since our investigation is ongoing, the Board has no comment at this time,” said Diane Presson, supervisor at the Nevada regulator’s investigations division, in the Wednesday email to GGRAsia.
The Gaming Control Board had clarified to GGRAsia in late June – after news of the Universal Entertainment investigation into Mr Okada was first made public – that the regulator was “investigating the allegations based on Mr Okada and affiliated companies Aruze USA Inc, Aruze Gaming America Inc, and Universal Entertainment holding various gaming licences in Nevada”.
The Aruze brand is a major supplier in the casino technology sector in key markets including Las Vegas and Macau.
On June 29, it was announced that Mr Okada had been excluded from the newly-constituted board of Universal Entertainment Corp, and the same month it emerged that Mr Okada had also been dropped as chairman of a Hong Kong-registered entity called Okada Holdings Ltd. The company reportedly holds a 67.9-percent stake in Universal Entertainment Corp.
Reuters news agency reported in July that Mr Okada had filed a lawsuit in Hong Kong against his son, daughter and wife in an attempt to regain control of Okada Holdings.
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”Our own consensus is that any newcomers to this [junket] sector should be corporatised, and should be financially sound and able to commit a higher guarantee deposit”
Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters