TOKYO May 20 Japan's Universal Entertainment
Corp booked a charge on Monday against a $25 million
payment at the centre of a FBI investigation into possible
bribery in the Philippines, saying there was no reason for the
payment to have been made.
Universal had previously booked the $25 million as a payment
to Rodolfo Soriano, a consultant with ties to the former head of
the Philippine gaming regulator, to secure land development
rights for its $2-billion casino project on Manila Bay.
The company said in its annual earnings statement on Monday
that an accounting expert hired to look into the matter had
determined there was no need to have made the $25 million
payment to Soriano.
In March, in response to questions from Reuters, Universal
said it had determined that the land development rights had been
obtained for free in 2009. As a result, it said there was no
basis for the payment to have been made in 2010.
The revised accounting marked the second time the company
has changed the way it booked payments to Soriano. In February
it said a $10 million transfer to Soriano had been improperly
booked but stood by the $25 million as a justified outlay in the
UHY Tokyo & Co, the auditor who signed off on the February
earnings statement and whose predecessor firm audited
Universal's earnings in 2010, has not returned calls seeking
Universal, which gets most of its sales from pachinko and
pachislot gaming machines in Japan, reported a net profit of
27.45 billion yen for the year ended in March, down 12.5 percent
from the previous year.
Reuters first reported on the company's payments to Soriano
in November. The payments have been the subject of
investigations by the FBI, the Philippine National Bureau of
Investigation and the Nevada state gaming regulator since last
In January Universal commissioned a panel of outside experts
to investigate the payments. That panel has yet to announce its