A final report of the internal investigation on the dealings of Japanese gaming group Universal Entertainment Corporation founder and chairman Kazuo Okada has not yet been finalised with the investigation still ongoing, the company said yesterday in its latest financial report.
According to the release, the Special Investigation Committee, set up on June 8 of this year to investigate ‘alleged improper activities at an overseas subsidiary associated with former directors of the company’, has yet to submit its final report.
The group also said ‘no facts have been confirmed’ that the alleged improper transfers had any effect upon Universal Entertainment’s operations and that the group expected ‘to recover money that the overseas subsidiary transferred to third parties’.
Universal Entertainment registered 6.78 billion yen (MOP494.25 billion/US$61.3 million) in net loss attributable to its owners in the first quarter of this year, having made 6.89 billion yen in net income in the same period of last year.
The company primarily engages in the sale of pachinko gaming equipment for the Japanese market.
Universal Entertainment also owns Aruze, a pachinko and slot machine company that distributes mass floor Electronic Gambling Machines (EGM) and Electronic Table Games (ETG) in the MSAR via Aruze Macau Gaming Limited.
After initiating its internal investigation, Universal Entertainment initially stated there were suspicions regarding a HK$135 million loan from Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRA) – a Hong Kong subsidiary of Universal in which Okada was the sole director at the time – in 2015 to an unnamed third party.
On June 16, Mr. Okada was removed as company chairman, and in an investigation update on June 19 Universal Entertainment announced that two more suspicious transactions were being investigated.
These regard an alleged withdrawal in 2015 by Okada of HK$16 million from the bank account of TRA, and a separate transfer pertaining to a US$170,000 security interest provided by Universal Entertainment that Okada Holdings Limited – ‘a company entirely owned by Mr. Okada and his relatives’ – allegedly did not pay to a financial institution that had provided US$80 million to finance a land transaction deal in South Korea.
The final report was initially intended to be published by June 30; however, Universal Entertainment announced three days before the deadline that since ‘all of these activities took place overseas and thus require more time to investigate, it would be difficult to submit an interim investigative report’ in the proposed time.
In statements made to news agency Reuters in July, Mr. Okada described the allegations made by his former company as “nonsense” claiming one of the transactions in question was a loan not due until November, purportedly to be used to expand junket operations aimed at attracting VIP players to Universal’s casino in the Philippines.
He also described the investigation as an attempt by the company’s President, Jun Fujimoto, to gain control of Universal Entertainment, noting that Fujimoto had been handpicked to run the company Okada had founded over 50 years ago.