Inside Asian Gaming

OCTOBER 2018 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING 21 COVER STORY Regarding Korea, Okada says, “If you look at my passport, I don’t have any travel records going to Korea, I wasn’t involved in anything there.” He contends it’s another facet of Universal’s plot against him: “Again, those things were also done behind my back. Basically some things happened which were completely paid back and these guys are coming back trying to make an issue over something that was already settled.” UNIVERSAL SUES OKADA IN PHILIPPINES Universal’s Philippines subsidiary Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment has filed a trio of legal actions there against Okada. It claims an Okada-owned company delivered faulty LED materials to Okada Manila and seeks to recover the equivalent of US$7 million. Separately, Tiger seeks more than US$3 million in wages and fees paid to Okada. Additionally, Tiger has filed suit against Okada and former Tiger President and COO Takahiro Usui – now Aruze Gaming America Group CEO – alleging fraud in their fight against removal from Tiger. UNIVERSAL SUES ARUZE GAMING AMERICA Aruze Gaming America began as the casino gaming machine – or non-pachinko – arm of Universal. Okada bought 100% personal ownership of it in 2009. Universal has filed a ¥100 million lawsuit in Tokyo against Aruze over unpaid licensing fees for Universal patents. OKADA HOLDINGS LTD CONTROLLING STAKE To avoid high Japanese estate taxes, Kazuo Okada established Okada Holdings Ltd as a Hong Kong company in 2010 to pass son Tomohiro Okada and daughter Hiromi Okada his 67.9% stake in Universal, with a current market value of US$1.75 billion. Corporate papers installed Okada Sr as sole director of OHL, retaining his ownership of all Universal shares and included a pledge that other shareholders would not vote against him. Okada controls 46.38% of OHL, Tomohiro 43.48%, Hiromi 9.78% and Okada’s second wife Sachiko (also known as Takako) 0.36%. According to Hong Kong court filings, on 12 May 2017 Tomohiro and Hiromi, representing more than 50% of OHL shares, appointed two new OHL directors, Atsunobu Ishida and Makoto Takada, who removed Okada as director. Okada’s camp contends Universal’s Fujimoto “brainwashed” Tomohiro, who “tricked” Hiromi, using their close relationship to seize control of his majority shareholding. “These discussions would be sudden and it would not be in a private setting. It would not only be Tomohiro, but Tomohiro’s attorney would always be present,” recalls Hiromi, who sat beside her father while speaking to IAG . “I only found out afterwards that documents I signed were not in fact what was stated or what I had intended. I had no idea it was going to be used to drive my own father out of his company.” In August last year, Hiromi granted her father power of attorney over her OHL shares, giving him majority control that he wants to use to restore himself as sole director, removing Ishida and Tokada. But Hong Kong’s Companies Registry has refused to accept Okada’s paperwork, leading father and daughter to each file lawsuits. Hiromi has also lodged complaints with Hong Kong’s Commercial Crime Bureau about the tactics used to convince her to oppose her father. “In general, I am suspicious when I read words like ‘brainwashed’ and ‘tricked’ to describe the behavior of Okada’s >> I have realized many of my dreams. I was on my way to achieving more dreams, but I was rudely disrupted and sent away from my dreams. But my intention is to make my way back and fulfill my dreams. © Sean Pavone |