BUSINESS

Okada remains committed to the Philippines despite cloud of uncertainty

TAGs: Casino News, Kazuo Okada, Philippines, Universal Entertainment

Pagcor urges Kazuo Okada to resolve Entertainment City land dealA few days after the Philippine’s Department of Justice recommended filing charges against Kazuo Okada and numerous officials from Universal Entertainment’s Philippine subsidiary, Tiger Resorts, the Japanese gaming tycoon has come out and expressed concern that his troubles in one country may be influenced by another one of his legal cases in another country.

According to the Macau Business Daily, Universal Entertainment is beginning to speculate and are increasingly becoming concerned about the reach and influence of its lawsuit against Wynn Resorts on its case in the Philippines.

“We cannot help but speculate and express concern if there is any direct influence from our civil litigation against Wynn Resorts or the US Federal Bureau of Investigation,” the company said, as quoted by the Business Daily.

It should be noted that the joint investigation between the DOJ and the National Bureau of Investigation failed to yield conclusive evidence to merit a filing of charges, citing the “reluctance of potential witnesses to testify” as one of the biggest reasons for not charging Okada and Universal for allegedly paying bribe money to former officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

Even with that route seemingly stuck on a dead end, the joint DOJ-NBI panel did find enough grounds to charge Okada and 25 other individuals with creating and running dummy corporations as fronts to circumvent and evade Philippine laws of naturalization of certain rights and privileges, a violation of the  Anti-Dummy Law and the Foreign Investments Act of 1991.

For its part, Universal is defending its dealings on the matter, saying that it went through the proper local channels to determine the country’s government laws so that whatever it did would be on the up-and-up. On the advise of its legal console, which it described as some of the “largest and most prominent law firm in the Philippines”, Universal Entertainment acquired land in Manila Bay in 2008, two years before the Office of The President of the Philippines presented a new interpretation of to the Grandfather Rule of foreign real property ownership laws that puts weight on the nationality of the stockholders in determining the nationality of a corporation or its compliance with laws on foreign equity limits.

Even with these allegations casting a dark cloud over his potential business in the Philippines, Okada affirmed his commitment to build and develop his $2-billion entertainment and casino complex at Entertainment City.

“We will continue to develop our dream of a fully integrated resort in Manila Bay that will not only create 15,000 stable jobs for the country but together with the Philippine people, attract international recognition and guests from all over the world,” the company said.

Part of that road to developing its dream appears to be discussions and talks on finalizing a deal with a prospective local partner, something the company said it is currently in the middle of.

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