LOS ANGELES Nov 19 Aruze USA, the U.S. unit of
Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada's Universal Entertainment Corp
, on Monday said a Nov. 16 Thomson Reuters exclusive
report and other media reports into alleged illegal funding by
the company related to its Philippines operations were not
"based on sufficient investigation."
The Reuters story said U.S. gaming regulators are
investigating millions of dollars paid by affiliates of
Universal to a former consultant of the Philippine gaming
authority around the time the company was lobbying to win
concessions for a $2 billion Manila casino.
"Our story was accurate and fair and we stand by it and our
reporting," said Thomson Reuters spokeswoman Barb Burg.
The revelation of the contested payments was the latest
twist in a bigger falling out between Okada, who made his
fortune making pachinko machines, and Las Vegas casino magnate
Steve Wynn, chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts. In
February, Wynn forcibly redeemed Okada's shares in the company
at a steep discount.
A spokesman for Wynn Resorts declined to comment.
Also on Monday, a spokesman for Philippine President Benigno
Aquino said prosecutors in Manila will investigate whether
bribes were paid in relation to the $2 billion Manila Bay casino
being developed by Okada.
In its statement, Aruze on Monday said that in August it had
filed with the Tokyo district Court a damage lawsuit against
Mitsuo Hida, former president or Aruze USA's Japanese branch, in
connection with economic damage it said was caused by Hida's
The company added it plans to file criminal charges
Hida could not be immediately reached for comment. His
Tokyo-based lawyer was also not immediately available.
"During the course of this lawsuit case, we believe that
nature and purpose of his embezzlement will be accounted for,"
it said in its statement.
The Reuters report also cites the Hida lawsuit, and his
rebuttal in which he says he was operating under Okada.