Kazuo Okada must be getting tired of doused in hot water because everywhere he turns, trouble seems to always creep up from behind him. As if his well-documented tussle with Steve Wynn isn’t enough, the Japanese billionaire now finds himself in trouble in the Philippines after the country’s Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation recommended the filing of violations of the Philippine Anti-Dummy Law against him and a bevy of other individuals and companies tied into Universal Entertainment’s multi-billion dollar Entertainment City project in the Philippines.
The sordid mess Okada has found himself in is pretty complicated and involves a slew of individuals, dummy companies, and financial wheeling and dealing that could put John Grisham to shame.
To begin: the joint DOJ-NBI body did not find enough evidence to charge Okada with bribery stemming from the alleged $40 million payment to former Pagcor consultant Rodolfo Soriano Jr. While it was able to gather evidence that Universal did make a payment that can be traced to Soriano, not enough sufficient evidence was gathered on the purpose of the payment, “mainly due to the reluctance of potential witnesses to testify”.
What the panel did find was Universal’s attempt to create dummy corporations as fronts for the company with the intention of circumventing and evading laws of nationalization of certain rights and privileges. This was deemed by the body as a violation of the Anti-Dummy Law and the Foreign Investments Act of 1991, referring to three corporations filed under Philippine law – Eagle I and II and Tiger Resort – in 2008 when they were incorporated with a minimum paid up capital of Pph5,000 each (5,000 shares) and created with the intention of transferring shares to Universal.
Three more companies, Molly Investments Cooperative U.A., an affiliate of Universal Entertainment, Lex Development Corporation, and Platinum Gaming and Entertainment Corporation, were also pointed as recipients of shares from the three aforementioned firms to establish an entertainment arcade in Mandaue City, Cebu.
But the NBI, in all its investigative prowess, was able to track down the office addresses of Platinum in two locations in the country, only to find out that the said addresses didn’t exist. Exacerbating the situation for Okada was the discovery from the Mandaue City treasurer’s office, which said that Platinum has had no business activity in their area since 2000 and that other companies tied to Universal, particularly Lex and Ultralex Holdings did not have the “financial capacity to engage in projects as huge as the proposed hotel, casino and resort in Paranaque City.”
“Furthermore, financial documents also reflect that Universal had indeed financed the capitalization and operational costs of the project under construction known as Okada resorts,” the DOJ-NBI findings added.
In addition to Kazuo Okada, other individuals and companies that have been ecommended for prosecution by the DOJ and the NBI for violation of the Anti-Dummy Law and the Foreign Investments Act of 1991 include the following:
Hajime Tokuda, President of Tiger Resort
Manabu Kawasaki, Treasurer of Tiger Resort
Masato Araki, Director of Eagle I and Eagle II
Koki Seki, Director of Eagle II and Tiger Resort
Takeshi Nojima, Director of Tiger Resort
Tetsutaro Shibata, Director of Tiger Resort
Ken Taura, Director of Tiger Resort,
Mitsuo Hida, President and Chairman of the Board of Tiger Resort
Imelda Manguiat of Tiger Resort
Jose Ma. G. Hofilena, Treasurer and Director of Tiger Resort
Hector De Leon Jr., Incorporator of Eagle I and Eagle II
Ramon Songco, Incorporator of Eagle I and Eagle II
Carina Laforteza, Corporate Secretary of Tiger Resort
Llewellyyn Llanillo, Incorporator, chairman of the board and President of Ultralex
Rene Soriano, Treasurer of Eagle I and Eagle II
Andres Sta. Maria, Incorporator and Director of Ultralex
Roberto San Juan, Incorporator and Director of Ultralex
Jan Celine Abano, Assistant Corporate Secretary of Eagle I and II and Tiger Resort
Maria Inez Togle, Incorporator and Director of Tiger Resort
Manuel Camacho, Director of Eagle I and II
Paulo Bombase, President of Eagle I and II
Rodolfo Soriano Jr., Director of Eagle I and II
Roberto Suson, Treasurer of Platinum
Ma. Lourdes Go, Incorporator and Director of Platinum and
Victor Emmanuel Caindic, Incorporator and Director of Platinum
Eagle 1 Landholdings
Eagle II HOLDCO., Inc.
Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc.
Molly Investments Cooperative U.A., an affiliate of Universal Entertainment
Aruze USA, Inc., also an affiliate of Universal Entertainment Corporation
Future Fortune Limited, Hong Kong registered company and affiliate of Universal Entertainment Corporation
Lex Development Corporation
Ultralex Holdings Corporation
Platinum Gaming and Entertainment Corporation