Inside Asian Gaming

November 2017 inside asian gaming 25 “In early June, Universal announced it was investigating Mr Okada for diverting corporate funds for his private use, leading to his ouster as chairman. The company’s probe found that in three cases during 2015, Mr Okada abused company funds as his own.” accusations recall Wynn Resorts’ investigation by America’s former FBI Director Louis B. Freeh that uncovered allegedly improper hospitality at Wynn properties to Philippine officials on Mr Okada’s account totaling US$110,000. Those incidents didn’t merit serious scrutiny at the time – and many dismissed them as standard industry practice – yet they prompted Mr Okada’s removal fromWynn’s board and redemption of his stock at a US$900 million discount in 2012. Mr Okada is suing to get his shares back. Universal’s allegations pile onto the history of Okada Manila, which Steve Wynn said lay at the root of splitting with his former “best friend,” Mr Okada. Reuters reported in 2012 that Universal paid US$40 million in 2010 to an associate of Efraim Genuino, then chairman of Philippine gaming regulator Pagcor. It’s that level of alleged corruption that led Wynn to judge Universal’s Philippine IR plan a threat to its Nevada gaming license and remove Mr Okada. Universal sued three employees involved and Mr Okada denied knowledge of the payments. Okada Manila also drew Philippine authorities’ ire. Prosecutors charged Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, Universal’s Philippine subsidiary holding Okada Manila, for violating laws mandating land ownership by Philippine citizens. Tiger claimed it followed the advice of Philippine lawyers and, after two local partnerships fizzled, settled the land issue by teaming with All Seasons Hotel and Resort, headed by Antonio Cojuangco, a cousin In Focus Universal Entertainment Corp founder Kazuo Okada was ousted by the company in June