Going back to 2012 Universal Entertainment has been under suspicion for making bribes. Decisions from various parties involved have now come to conclusions after holding fact finding panels. To fully understand the situation one must know all the players involved.
According to the Independent Commission Against Corruption in Hong Kong (ICAC), the FBI, the National Buearu of Investigation in the Philippines (NBI), and the Japanese Tax Authority a report was made that Universal Entertainment Corporation paid funds in 2010 to a PAGCOR official named Rodolfo Soriano.
The FBI started it investigation when information was uncovered that the $40 million payment in 2010 originated from Aruze USA. It is a US subsidiary of Universal Entertainment. The main company is headquartered in Japan. Aruze USA did recently confirm receipt of a subpoena that was sent from a Federal Grand Jury. The Subpoena stated the request was on “suspicion” of bribery payments. The US stepped in to assess if the payment was in violation of USA anti-bribery laws.
ICAC comes into the mix due to the bank account transfers. The bank accounts reportedly used for the transfer of the $40 million are located in Hong Kong.
Since Universal Entertainment is headquartered in Tokyo the Tax Authority had to look into the suspicion of bribery.
Lastly the Philippines NBI had to assess the suspicion since the funds are related to a $2 billion USD casino project – Manila Bay Resorts, in Entertainment City, which is located in Parañaque, Philippines.
In a statement to media, Universal Entertainment stated the claims from the Philippines and Japan have been closed due to insufficient evidence. For the Philippines the statement said the probe was suspended because they did not have access to witnesses.
However according to a report in GGRAsia on March 23, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “That is not true,” in regards to Prosecutor General Claro Arellano having proposed a resolution of the case to her. The case is apparently still with the Panel [of investigators].
ICAC as of March 20, 2015 has stated they are not going to comment on individual cases. Universal told media that the USA probe would most likely be closed soon also due to a lack of evidence.
Universal Entertainment’s Lawsuits
Universal Entertainment is not letting the “groundless suspicions” go in terms of their own lawsuits against certain companies including Wynn Resorts. While a case based on defamation charges has been deemed to have insufficient evidence to prosecute Wynn and other companies, there are still lawsuits pending in Asia and America between Universal Entertainment and Wynn.
According to Universal Entertainment, Wynn’s board of directors forcibly redeemed Universal Entertainment owner Okada’s investment at a discount when allegations of bribery started.
Universal Entertainment also stated they are pursuing an internal investigation of a former employee. This employee supposedly authorized the $40 million USD payment, which has been the crux of their legal issues since 2012. Universal Entertainment did state they filed a civil case in Tokyo District Court against this former employee.
At this time Universal has filed with the Japan Securities Exchange JASDAQ to explain the cases in Japan and the Philippines are concluded based on lack of evidence. The filing also indicated Universals intention to follow through with lawsuits for damages to their company. It is unclear at this point if the General Prosecutor in the Philippines will expedite closing the case or if Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has more to weigh in on with the matter.