Japanese casino mogul Kazuo Okada has been shown the exit of the Manila casino that bears his name as an investigation into the supposed JPY2 billion (US$18.15 million) illegal fund outflows in Universal Entertainment Corp. drags on.
Okada, who made a big bet in opening an integrated resort in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s Entertainment City, may not be around long enough to see his integrated casino turn a profit after Universal’s Philippine subsidiary, Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. voted to kick him out of the chairman’s seat.
Justice Manuel Lazaro replaced Okada as the chairman of Tiger Resort, while Kenji Sugiyama was elected as the casino operator’s president. Antonio Cojuangco, Rey David and Steve Wolstenholme remain as Directors.
“As a consequence of the recent actions at Universal Entertainment Corporation (U.E.C), a special stockholders meeting of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI) was convened followed by an organizational meeting of the board,” Okada Manila said in a statement.
Okada Manila, the third and largest (to date) of four planned integrated resorts in Manila’s Entertainment City gaming zone, officially unveiled many of its key amenities and facilities last March 31 after seeing numerous delays due to the “worse-than-expected weather conditions” last year.
The septuagenarian, who own 74 percent of Universal, has been bullish with the Philippine market, making a bold prediction that the Philippine casino industry would soon surpass Singapore in gaming revenue.
But his business dealings had been placed under the microscope over the years after he was accused of numerous irregularities.
The Japanese casino mogul was ousted as director of US casino operator Wynn Resorts in 2012 over allegations that he violated US anti-bribery laws when he treated Philippine gaming officials to fancy meals and drinks while in Las Vegas and Macau. Okada denied the allegations.
Separate from the issue was the alleged $40 million payment to a Manila-based consultant in 2010. The Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation into whether the money was used to bribe Philippine officials in order to get tax and ownership concessions for the new Okada Manila integrated resort.
Early this month, Universal suspended the leadership of Okada and Yoshinao Negishi, director and general manager of Universal’s Administrative Division, after finding out that the two possibly committed fraudulent acts when a loan amounting to HKD135-million ($17.3-million) was transferred to third party from Tiger Asia Resort Ltd on March 20, 2015.