Japanese Billionaire in Gambling Official Debacle
Japanese Billionaire Kazuo Okada has been accused by high end hotel and casino operator Wynn Resorts limited of providing a Philippines gaming regulator with a $6000-a-day suite in Macau as a form of bribery payments. These payments were part of a series of stringed payments that have been analysed to have violated United States anti-bribery laws.
Okada’s owned corporation, Universal Entertainment Corp. has been found to have improperly given away more than $110,000 in payments and gifts to two chief gambling regulators located in the Philippines, as well as to their respective families. This information was contained in a report that was prepared for the Wynn Resorts and filed on February the 19th, pending a lawsuit against Kazuo Okada that will take place in state court in Nevada.
Three dozen improper payments were made by Okada and his associates, benefiting Filipino regulator, Cristino Naguit Jr, with a four-day stay at the most expensive room located in the Macau branch of Wynn’s Resorts. Freeh Spokring & Sullivan LLP compiled the report detailing this information as well as information on the room, known as Villa 81 which covers over 7,000 square feet.
“Naguiat’s luxury stays at Wynn Resorts facilities were fully known to Mr. Okada, who actively involved himself in some of the arrangements,” according to the report, which was preparedby Louis Freeh, a former Federal Bureau Of Investigation director.
Okada’s influence over Filipino gaming regulators has been in relation to his recent development of a gaming business within the Philippines. Okada has recently been asked to step down from his position as director of the Las Vegas based Wynn Resorts as a result of his recent actions.
It has been claimed by the casino company that Okada, Universal and also another company controlled as a subsidiary under Universal, Aruze USA Inc. had breached their duty of care and responsibility to Wynn Resorts. As a further result of their actions, Wynn had forced the redemption of Universal’s 19.7 precent stake in the company at a discount. This has further impacted and escalated an ongoing dispute between the Chief Executive Officer Stephen Wynn and Okada, who had previously helped bankroll the company casino.
Okada has however denied any wrong doing and declared that he given no cash gifts to any regulators in a visit to the office of regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp in Manila. He instead stated to Naguit, PAGCOR’s chairman, that the $110,000 in gifts that were detailed in the report were actually “complimentary accommodations” that were granted to the business as from the country and others from 2008 to 2011.
The situation is continuing to spiral out of control, confronting Okada with more potential future problems. The initial alleged unlawful payments were given to regulators who could advance Okada’s business interests.
[Source: Business Week]