Andrea Domingo, head of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), says the operations of the Okada Manila casino resort (pictured) should not be affected by the investigation against Japanese gaming entrepreneur Kazuo Okada. Ms Domingo said the probe was an internal company matter, reported gaming intelligence provider GamblingCompliance.
Japan-based Universal Entertainment Corp – the parent company of the operator of Okada Manila – had said it had launched an investigation into Mr Okada’s use of company money.
Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, the promoter of the casino scheme in the Philippine capital, announced on June 16 it had removed Mr Okada as its chairman.
The removal of Mr Okada as chairman of the Philippines-based unit “really doesn’t make a difference because under our corporate laws the person is different from the corporate entity,” Ms Domingo told GamblingCompliance.
“If a person commits wrongdoing that’s their problem. It is an internal problem and they would have to elect new directors which our board has to approve,” the head of Pagcor said as quoted in the report carrying Wednesday’s date.
On June 16, Tiger Resort said Justice Manuel Lazaro had replaced the Japanese billionaire as board chairman. The company added that it had elected Kenji Sugiyama as president.
Speaking to GamblingCompliance on the sidelines of the World Gaming Executive Summit in Barcelona on Tuesday, Ms Domingo added: “[Kazuo] Okada only owns 1 percent of Tiger Leisure [sic] in the Philippines and another director owns another 1 percent. The rest is owned by other investors.”
Okada Manila had issued a statement on June 9 saying that its operations were “unaffected” by the announcement that the parent company had launched an investigation into Mr Okada’s use of company money.
Universal Entertainment has since elected a new board of directors that excludes Mr Okada. The board changes were approved by shareholder vote three weeks after the Japanese conglomerate announced that it had established an internal investigative panel to probe Mr Okada’s use of company funds. Universal Entertainment said it had found three cases in which Mr Okada is suspected of misappropriating company funds.
While Pagcor has distanced itself from the internal probe being conducted by Universal Entertainment, the Nevada Gaming Control Board in the United States confirmed last week that it was investigating Mr Okada.
“The Nevada Gaming Control Board can confirm that it has reviewed the two notices [from Universal Entertainment regarding alleged wrongdoing by Kazuo Okada] and that it is investigating the allegations contained therein,” Diane Presson, supervisor at the regulator’s investigations division, said in an email to GGRAsia.
Ms Presson said in a separate email that the Nevada Gaming Control Board 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”.
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"The ICAC in Hong Kong has the authority to detain people or to arrest people. But being detained or arrested – and actually being charged – are completely different things"
Japanese gaming entrepreneur