Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada (pictured) has reportedly filed a lawsuit in Hong Kong against his son, daughter and wife in an attempt to regain control of Okada Holdings Ltd, reported Reuters news agency. The media outlet cited a court filing and an interview with Mr Okada.
The casino and pachinko tycoon told Reuters that he saw a lawsuit as the only way to get his son and daughter to the negotiating table after they took control of the board of Hong Kong-based Okada Holdings. The company holds a 67.9-percent stake in Japanese gaming conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp.
Reuters reported last month that Mr Okada had been dropped as chairman of Okada Holdings on May 12. But the Japanese businessman still owns a 46.38-percent stake in that company, according to a recent filing from Tokyo-listed Universal Entertainment.
Okada Holdings is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, the media outlet said, citing the Hong Kong High Court online database.
“Unless I sue there will be no opportunity to talk. The reality is I am in a losing position in terms of voting rights,” Mr Okada told Reuters.
Mr Okada’s son, Tomohiro Okada, controls a 43.48-percent stake in Okada Holdings, while the latter’s sister, Hiromi Okada, holds a 9.78-percent stake in the company. Both are Mr Okada’s children from a previous marriage.
The Japanese businessman declined to respond to questions about the details of the suit, but said that only on May 18 he found out he had been dropped as a director of Okada Holdings, he told the news agency.
Mr Okada was ousted of Universal Entertainment’s board of directors at an annual meeting on June 29, when the firm’s shareholders approved a new slate of directors.
The Japanese conglomerate announced in early June that it had established an internal investigative panel to probe Mr Okada’s use of company money. Universal Entertainment said it had found three cases in which Mr Okada is suspected of misappropriating company funds.
The Japanese firm said on June 8 that it had suspended the leadership powers held by Mr Okada, accusing him of “a serious violation of governance”.
Mr Okada has described Universal Entertainment’s allegations as “nonsense”. Reuters quoted the businessman as saying that one of the suspected transactions was a loan – not due until November – that had been used to expand junket operations at the Okada Manila casino resort in the Philippines.
Universal Entertainment controls the Philippine property via Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc. The latter company announced on June 16 it had removed Mr Okada as company chairman.
The Japanese tycoon additionally said that he viewed the investigation launched by Universal Entertainment against him as an attempt by the firm’s president Jun Fujimoto to seize control. “I made Fujimoto president. Now he wants to take over,” Mr Okada told the media outlet.
Mr Fujimoto reportedly said in a private letter to a shareholder that Mr Okada was “unfit” to be a director of a public company, Reuters reported last week.
"We remain fully committed to continue supporting IGT’s long-term development"
Chief executive of De Agostini, majority shareholder of lottery and gaming supplier IGT