Universal Entertainment Corp, led by Japanese pachinko entrepreneur Kazuo Okada, said in a filing to Jasdaq on Monday that the Prosecutor General of the Philippines had proposed to the country’s Secretary of Justice to “terminate the investigation into the groundless suspicion that our group may have offered bribes to officials of [the] Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp [the local regulator]…”
Alleged illegal payments linked to Mr Okada’s under-construction US$2 billion Manila Bay Resorts casino project (pictured in a rendering) in the Philippines capital 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.
Universal Entertainment added in its Monday filing: “Furthermore, it was decided on December 16, 2014, not to institute prosecution against Mr Kazuo Okada, chairman of the board of the company, against whom a criminal complaint and charge had been filed by someone with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office for bribery to public officials.” That was a reference to the Philippines case.
Universal Entertainment added in the filing it would continue to investigate the “outflow of US$30 million caused by a former employee of our group”.
In July 2013, 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.
Meanwhile, Universal Entertainment’s Monday filing said that the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office on December 16 decided not to pursue complaints filed by the company against U.S.-based casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd and chairman Steve Wynn. The claims included circulation of rumours, defamation and harm to public trust.
In 2012, Wynn Resorts decided to buy out Mr Okada’s 20 percent stake in the company forcibly, after a year-long internal investigation alleged that the Japanese businessman offered cash payments and gifts totalling approximately US$110,000 to executives at the Philippines casino regulator, breaching U.S. anti-corruption laws.
Mr Okada was Wynn Resorts’ biggest single shareholder.
Mr Okada, Wynn Resorts and Mr Wynn have since been involved in a lengthy series of lawsuits, taking place both in the U.S. and Japan.
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