Okada Manila Casino Resort Ousts Chairman Kazuo Okada from Board

Tiger Resort, Leisure, and Entertainment Inc. ousted on Friday Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada from his post as Chairman of the company’s board. Mr. Okada was replaced by Justice Manuel Lazaro.

Tiger Resort, Leisure, and Entertainment is the company behind Okada Manila, the $2-billion-plus integrated resort located on the waterfront of the Philippine capital.

The move came after parent company Universal Entertainment Corp. announced earlier this month that Mr. Okada was the subject of an investigation over the transfer of HK$135 million to an unnamed third party. The Japanese businessman founded Universal Entertainment back in the 1960s. The company has since then established itself as one of the leaders in the production and distribution of slot and pachinko machines and other devices for the gaming and gambling industry.

As mentioned above, Mr. Okada, together with Yoshinao Negishi, Director at Universal Entertainment, allegedly transferred HK$135 million from a subsidiary of the group to an unknown third party back in March 2015. According to a statement from Universal Entertainment, the money was extended without the necessary approval from the other members of the company’s board.

It was also found out that the bigger portion of the money was then referred to Okada Holdings Ltd., a company that was run by Mr. Okada at the time. The improper transfer was brought to the attention of Universal Entertainment board’s through a recent report compiled by a company auditor.

A probe into the matter was launched in early June and the results from it are expected to be announced at the end of the month. Mr. Okada and Mr. Negishi, his alleged accomplice, were suspended from the slot machine manufacturer’s board, while being investigated by internal auditors and independent external experts.

After news about the ongoing probe into the Japanese mogul’s activity spread, Okada Manila released a statement that its operations had remained and would remain unaffected.

Okada Manila hosted its grand opening in March 2017. The property is the third one of its kind to open doors as part of the larger Entertainment City project in the heart of Manila, Bloomberry’s Solaire, and Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s City of Dream being the other two. The luxury resort was the result from Mr. Okada’s years-long efforts to enter the Philippines’ casino market.

In fact, his attempts to expand his business to the Southeast Asian country cost him his seat into the Wynn Resorts’ board several years ago. Mr. Okada had previously held a stake in the Las Vegas-based gambling giant, but was later on ousted for allegedly breaching US anti-bribery laws. The Japanese businessman was accused of attempting to bribe Philippine gambling officials to obtain the necessary permission to operate in the country.

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