Allegations of corrupt practices lack merit - Okada
MANILA, Philippines - Allegations of corrupt practices by Philippine officials lack merit, Universal Entertainment Corp. (UEC) of Japanese gambling tycoon Kazuo Okada said.
In a report to the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), UEC said the allegations were “generated for an ulterior purpose and motive.”
The Freeh Report has accused Okada of “apparent” violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Specifically, the report accused Okada of violating “Philippine Constitutional provisions and statutes that require 60 percent land ownership by Philippine nationals; the possibility of making another similar payments to a Korean government official; alleged admissions regarding gift-giving; supposed failures to comply with various requests of Wynn Resorts Ltd.; and the payment of expenses for former Pagcor chairman Efraim Genuino’s trip to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.”
UEC, in its nine-page information report to NGCB, stated: “The report was not used to provide guidance to licensees, but to justify the involuntary redemption and purported cancellation of Aruze USA Inc.’s 24.549 million shares of Wynn Resorts stock at a $1 billion discount and in the form of a subordinated note.”
The move restored Steve Wynn as the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts.
On the payment and gift giving allegations regarding Pagcor officials, UEC said two of its employees responsible for allowing unauthorized charges were reprimanded and are no longer with UEC.
Okada and former business partner Wynn are in a bitter corporate feud, which started when the Japanese pachinko businessman questioned the $135-million donation pledged by Wynn Macau Ltd., a Macau subsidiary of Wynn Resorts in Macau. Both businessmen continue to trade barbs, accusing the other of questionable payments to public officials in Asia including the Philippines.
Okada’s Tiger Resorts & Leisure Corp. is in talks for a partnership with Gokongwei-led Robinsons Land Corp. to jointly develop a $2-billion hotel and casino complex in the 100-hectare Entertainment City along Roxas Blvd.
Tiger Resorts is one of four groups that were granted a license by the Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp. to operate a casino on a reclaimed land along Manila Bay, which the government expects to turn into the world’s number two gaming destination ahead of Singapore and Las Vegas and behind only Macau.
In July, Okada took in Empire East Land & Holdings Inc. of property tycoon Andrew Tan as partner to take charge of the residential component of the planned integrated resort. Empire East will build a P45-billion upscale residential condominium complex, comprising more than 25 residential towers, marking its first foray into the high-end property market.