Reports that Japanese gaming entrepreneur Kazuo Okada (pictured) had been “reinstalled” as either a representative or director of privately-held Hong Kong company Okada Holdings Ltd and had “lawfully demanded” that Jasdaq-listed Universal Entertainment Corp – a group Mr Okada founded – convene an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting had “no basis in fact”, said Universal Entertainment.
The group’s denial, carrying Friday’s date, was said to be in response to remarks reportedly made by Mr Okada at a press conference held the previous day (September 14) and to a news piece from Reuters.
Earlier this month, Universal Entertainment said an investigative report it commissioned into Mr Okada – its former chairman and director – had found the Japanese businessman was responsible for “three acts of fraudulence”, by not going through proper company channels regarding transactions amounting in value to nearly US$100 million.
On June 29, it was announced that Mr Okada had been excluded from the newly-constituted board of Universal Entertainment, and the same month it emerged that Mr Okada had also been dropped as chairman of a Hong Kong-registered entity called Okada Holdings. The company reportedly holds a 67.9-percent stake in Universal Entertainment.
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.
Universal Entertainment said in its Friday filing: “Upon verifying the situation with Makoto Takada and Atsunobu Ishida, whom the company understands to be registered as directors of Okada Holdings, the company received the response that Mr Okada has not in fact legally acquired and maintained majority voting rights in Okada Holdings, including proxies to exercise voting rights in place of Okada Holdings shareholders, nor has he been reinstalled as ‘representative’ or ‘director’ of Okada Holdings.”
A GGRAsia online search on Monday of Hong Kong company records showed only Makoto Takada and Atsunobu Ishida listed as directors of Okada Holdings.
The Universal Entertainment Friday announcement noted: “ Additionally, as of now, the company [Universal Entertainment] has not in fact received a legal, valid demand to convene an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting from Mr Okada.”
It further stated the company had “sincerely and solemnly” accepted the results of the investigative report it had commissioned regarding suspected acts of fraudulence by Mr Okada, and would take unspecified “measures” to prevent similar alleged fraud happening again.
“Based on said investigative results and measures to prevent the reoccurrence of the investigated acts as suggested by the [special investigation] committee, the company will formulate such measures in detail and proceed to execute them going forward,” Universal Entertainment said.
A Nevada Gaming Control Board investigation in the United States into Mr Okada was “ongoing”, the body said in a September 6 emailed response to an enquiry from GGRAsia.
The regulator had previously clarified it was “investigating the [Universal Entertainment] allegations, “based on Mr Okada and affiliated companies Aruze USA Inc, Aruze Gaming America Inc, and Universal Entertainment holding various gaming licences in Nevada”.
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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