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Okada firm hits Reuters on bribe stories, eyes suit

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Universal Entertainment Corp. of Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada on Tuesday assailed the coverage of an international news agency on the alleged bribes paid by the gaming firm to a former consultant of state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

In a press statement, the company that holds one of the four gaming licenses in Pagcor’s Entertainment City development on Manila Bay also threatened Reuters with legal action.

“We believe that Reuters should be fully held to account legally for the damage brought about through their biased reporting, and we are exploring the possibility of taking legal actions against  them,” said the Okada-controlled firm.

According to Universal Entertainment, the wire stories published on Nov. 16 and 30, contain a “misrecognition of facts and biases that could have been easily avoided had Reuters engaged in fair and appropriate reporting.”

Reuters reported on Nov. 16 that US gaming regulators were investigating millions of dollars paid by affiliates of Universal to then Pagcor consultant Rodolfo Soriano, when Okada’s company was lobbying the Philippine government to win concessions for a $2-billion casino it was building on Manila Bay.

Soriano’s powerful connections included then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s husband, Jose Miguel, with whom he traveled to Las Vegas in 2009.

Soriano was described as the “bagman” of Efraim Genuino, who was the Pagcor chairman at the time.

A Universal subsidiary made a $5-million payment in May 2010 to Soriano, according to a Reuters examination of bank records, corporate filings, court documents and records prepared by Universal’s staff.

The $5-million payment was made via a shell company in Hong Kong and was part of the $40 million in transfers made by Universal’s US affiliate Aruze USA.

On Nov. 30, Reuters reported that Universal funneled to Soriano at least $30 million, a sum six times the amount initially confirmed by the news agency.

A Hong Kong firm established by Universal sent the money to Soriano through a series of payments in the first half of 2010, according to a review of company records and interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees and people familiar with the investigation.

Misrecognition of facts

“This is a clear misrecognition of the facts,” Universal Entertainment said. “The facts surrounding this company’s Philippine business have already been reported to the Nevada Gaming Authorities through the company’s own compliance committee.”

Reacting to the accusations, Reuters’ news bureau in Manila released a statement saying, “Our stories are accurate and fair and we stand by them and our reporting.”

As its representative earlier said in a probe in the House of Representatives, Universal Entertainment maintained that the alleged payoff was perpetrated by a former company employee who is now being investigated.

Wynn’s legal maneuverings

The Japanese firm also accused Reuters of having played into the legal maneuverings of Okada’s Las Vegas-based rival Steve Wynn, the owner of Wynn Resorts.

“Up to this point, Reuters has been fed information unfavorable to our company by the litigants involved in legal disputes with us,” Universal Entertainment said.

“Reuters has not made any reference to the information related to this case, and has, instead, created doubts about our company on an issue that has never been a problem.”

It also accused the news organization of “intentionally” manufacturing adverse information “without so much as confirming the facts or questioning appropriate persons involved.”

The published stories had, in fact, pointed out that Reuters had tried to get the side of Okada’s group, which declined to comment. But the Japanese firm pointed out that the time limit Reuters allotted for a response was “extremely short.”

‘Full of malice’

“This investigative inquiry gave us no chance to defend ourselves, and was simply empty journalism with a facade of impartiality,” Universal Entertainment added. “Reuters’ reporting is full of malice and our company firmly objects to this.”

Besides the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Department of Justice are investigating the bribery allegations. Universal’s license to operate a casino in Manila could be canceled if it was found to have been obtained through bribery, according to Malacañang.

Pagcor, meanwhile, said yesterday that, despite the allegations of bribery leveled against its previous management, all licensees for the $4-billion Entertainment City project stood on equal footing as far as investors’ benefits were concerned.

“As far as we know, no preferential concession was granted to Tiger Resorts,” Pagcor spokesperson Maricar Bautista said, referring to the local unit of Okada’s gaming empire. “All of the Entertainment City proponents will be paying the same fees and taxes to the government.”


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Tags: Bribery , Business , Entertainment City , Global Nation , Kazuo Okada , media , Pagcor , Reuters , Universal Entertainment Corp.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WIWYLFLU4LPKS7B2ZLLRVFKS3Y vir_a

    This bribe story is also being exploited by one of the senatorial aspirants. They have no self merits. So they will exploit the demerits of others to make them popular and worthy of voters confidence. We should be beware of fake leaders.

  • DGuardian

    TIgilan ninyo na ang paninira kay Okada at hayaang matapos ang casinong ipinagagawa niya para magkaroon ng libu-libong trabaho ang mga kababayan natin, madagdagan ng milyun-milyon ang bilang ng mga foreign tourists, kumita ng bilyun-bilyong piso ang BIR, at mas lalong lumaki ang pondo ng Pagcor na mailalaan para sa kawanggawa at iba pang mga mahahalagang proyekto ng pamahalaan. Ang mga gahamang opisyales ng gobyerno at mga tauhan nila ang may kasalanan sa pag-iral ng tiwaling sistema sa mga sangay ng gobyerno, kung saan ang mga helpless foreign investors na gustong maglagay ng legitimate investments sa Pilipinas ay hinihingan muna nila ng lagay bago payagang makapag-negosyo sa Pilipinas. Ang mga foreign investors ang victims ng mga lintang ito at hindi siyang dapat parusahan. Ang mga ganid na Pilipinong ito na siyang nagre-represent pa naman sa Pilipinas ang nagbibigay ng batik sa pangalan, dangal, at reputasyon ng Pilipinas at mga Pilipino at siyang dapat parusahan.  

    Isa pa, mukhang ang allegation na ito ng Reuter ay kagagawan na naman ni Steve Wynn na may mga casinos sa Macau. Ayaw niyang matuloy ang casino ni Okada sa Pilipinas dahil hihina ang negosyo niya doon. Maaaring tuwing makikita niya ang laki at ganda ng proyekto ni Okada sa YouTube ay hindi siya mapakali sa galit at inggit. Kahit ako, tuwing panonoorin ko nang paulit-ulit sa YouTube ang awesome,magnificent, at majestic na mga structures na ipapagawa ni Okada ay tuwang-tuwa ako para sa Pilipinas. Katakut-takot na kapangitan ang nakikita ko sa Manila at iba pang siyudad sa Metro Manila, pero sa wakas ay magkakaroon tayo ng .mga structures na ganoon kaganda. Labis na nakakatuwa kapag gumaganda at umuunlad ang Pilipinas. Hinihintay ko at inaasam ang pagbubukas ng Manila Bay Resort Casino ni Okada sa first quarter ng 2014, pero napakaraming mga taong humahadlang. Maawa naman kayo sa bayan ninyo. Tigilan ninyo na si Okada.

  • http://mikkieugenio.tumblr.com/ Paul Eugenio

    There are hints that it’s not Wynn who is behind all this, but Okada’s “long time partner” with interests in telecoms and airlines.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SYG36KOOLRY47VA3ICPJJ5CQTQ ADD

    Normal na sa panahon ni GMA ang bribery and now it hunts them.

    • popeyee

      Nag over spill  pa nga sa Aquino admin, di ba ang nakaupong head ng PAGCOR ay inaakusahan ding na-bribed?

  • Albert Einstien

    CANCEL ALL CASINO PROJECTS…pati nga grupo nila stanley nakapasok na rin…dati papasok pa lang DAMI ng komontra ngayon BIGLA LAHAT TUMaHIMiK…bakit kaya?

    DI ba kayo NAGTATAKA….ALL projects of GMA knancel ng pnoy admin..pati mga daan,tulay at FLOOD projects ay at kung ano ano pa..PERO ang ITINIRA lang ni pnoy ang CASINO PROJECT ni GMA…at kahit PA-ULIT -ULIT na SUMSIKAT si NAGUIAT ay HNDI ito NAKAKASUHAN at TINATANGGAL….pero IBANG mga hepe TANGGAL agad sa MEDIA na lang nila nalalaman SIBAK na sila……ano ba ang TOTOONG PAPEL ni NAGUIAT ke pnoy?

    CANCEL ALL CASINO CONTRACTS..!!!WHO among the MONEYED KKKS is eyeing for for the $billion lucrative
    & strategic landholdings & the LICENSE of OKADA ……that is the QUESTION?………….NAGUIAT & current PAGCOR officers are ALSO involved in the alleged INTERNATIONAL BRIBERY…in FACT by their ADMISSION that money & perks received from okada group an INDUSTRY PRACTICE ” is already INDIRECT BRIBERY( receiving gaming (pang-SUGAL ) & shopping money..doj…just secure an autenticated copy of the freeh report to the gaming compliance committee..the alleged report contain the following;

    “nSeptember 23, 2010: In an e-mail to Ms. Lai, with a copy to Mr. Okada, Mr. Shoji requests that a credit of US 5,000 be extended to each person now staying at the Villa for shopping and gaming(PANG-SUGAL ), up to a total of US 50,000. According to Mr. Shoji’s email, the funds are to be advanced by Wynn Macau and charged to the Universal City Ledger account.nSeptember 24, 2010 (13:45): MOP 80,00086 (approximately US 10,000) is advanced from the Wynn Macau main cage to a Wynn Macau VIP Services employee (no longer employed at Wynn Macau), who in turn hands the money to Masato Araki, special assistant to president of Aruze USA, based upon instructions in the above referenced e-mail to Ms. Lai. The handover of funds is witnessed by Wynn Encore manager Alex Kong. The funds are charged to the Universal City Ledger Account. MOP 15,000 of this sum is used to pay for a Chanel bag that Chairman Naguiat requested be purchased for his wife.

    nSeptember 24, 2010 (Approximately 14:00): Mrs. Naguiat, her three children, Mrs. Bangsil and her daughter arrive at Wynn Macau. . MOP 80,000 was worth approximately US 9,816 at that time. Chairman Naguiat’s party] are very important to Universal, and that Mr. Okada wants Mr. Couglan to insure that they are well cared for during their stay.

    nSeptember 24, 2010 (17:00): Mr. Okada meets Chairman Naguiat (and approximately thirteen (13)) others in his party) for dinner at Okada Restaurant.91 Mr. Okada hosts the dinner and the bill for $1,673.07 is charged to his room. nSeptember 25, 2010 (05:45): Wynn Macau employees meet Mr. Okada outside his room and escort him to a limousine, which transports him to the Macau Ferry Terminal for 07:00 scheduled ferry departure to Hong Kong International Airport.nSeptember 25, 2010: Beatrice Yeung describes in her log book “Movements – Incognito (Mr. Naguiat, Cristino L) / Mr. Bangsil, Rogelio / Mr. Opinion, Jeffrey (Mr. Okada’s guests, Villa 81).” nSeptember 25, 2010: Mr. Araki requests a second advance of MOP 80,000 for guests in Villa 81. Ms. Yeung accompanies Mr. Araki to the Main Cage and obtains the advance for him. [This makes a total of MOP 160,000 advanced for the use of Chairman Naguiat and his party and charged to the Universal City Ledger Account per Mr. Okada’s orders, as relayed in Mr. Shoji’s e-mail.]

    nSeptember 26, 2010 (11:10): Mr. Araki departs the Wynn Macau Encore main entrance. He hands Ms. Yeung MOP 4100, returning what he says is the remainder of the two cash advances for Chairman Naguiat’s party

    nSeptember 26, 2010 (13:15): Chairman Naguiat’s party departs via Wynn Macau limousine to pick up Mrs. Naguiat from shopping and proceeds to the airport..
    [See Appendix]; Wynn Macau “Miscellaneous Disbursement” record #013066, dated September 25, 2010. 95 E-mail from B. Yeung to I. Coughlan, September 27, 2010 [See Appendix]; Wynn Macau Manager – Encore Logbook, September 26, 2010 [See Appendix]; handwritten and signed note dated “9/26/10” with notation “MOP 4.100”. [See Appendix]. The returned funds were equal to approximately US 503.07 returned out of a total of approximately US 19,632 provided. On or about December 10, 2010: After e-mails and phone messages following Mr. Shoji’s September 20, 2010 e-mail, Mr. Coughlan has a phone conversation with Mr. Shoji, in which he advises Mr. Shoji that, after internal Wynn Macau discussions, the final decision was that Wynn Macau would not provide the requested free upgrade for the Villa occupied during the September 2010 visit. The foregoing recitation of facts surrounding the September 2010 visit of Chairman Naguiat and his party to Wynn Macau demonstrates several significant elements of that visit:
    nMr. Okada considered these guests to be very important to his company. An effort was made from the outset to conceal Chairman Naguiat’s identity and official status, to the point of not even wanting to advise Wynn Macau management and staff. nWith Mr. Okada’s knowledge, Chairman Naguiat and his family were provided with approximately US 20,000 cash to use for gaming and also shopping nMr. Okada’s representative sought to have Wynn Resorts fund a portion of the expenses incurred by Chairman Naguiat and his party, i.e., the free upgrade to a Villa. There is evidence that Mr. Okada personally directed the payments and gifts provided to Chairman Naguiat and his family during their luxury stay at Wynn Macau’s most expensive accommodation in September 2010. On October 5, 2010, Mr. Araki sent an email to Wynn Macau in order to arrange for a “second group of PAGCOR” checking into Wynn Macau on October 8, 2010..what is DOJ/NBI doing kumuha na ng AUTHENTICATEd copy ng report…….

    .BOUNG MUNDO na ang NAKASAKSI nyan DAHIL nk-POST yan sa internet..(EX-99.2 3 d304177dex992.htm REPORT BY FREEH, SPORKIN & SULLIVAN, LLP TO THE GAMING COMPLIANCE COMMITTEE ) …..hindi na pwedeng PAGTAKPAN yan….ALAM ng BOUNG mundo yan… NO SACRED cows madam doj…you should follow the direction of comelec brilliantes at mmda chairman tolentino… ” NO SACRED COWS “..alamin sino sino ang mga PACOR OFFICERs at mga PAMLYA nila na INVOLVED dito sa alleged bibery…….( byahe ng sept 23 & oct 8 2010 )……HUWAD na DAAN..pag lagi na lang me PROTEKSYON ang mga KKK….dapat ang BATAS pantay para sa lahat…papano na pag di ka KKK? DOJ NBI kilos na…wag na magBULAG-BULAGAN at magnoynoying…IMBISTIGAHAN nyo na rin INTEL, DISCRETIONARY FUNDS…..& other nontaxable receipts ng pagcor…kun saan dinala at kanino napunta….at TINGNAN nyo rin kung me katotohanan.. yung VIDEO REPORT ni taberna….ginagamit na daw for PERSONAL & PRIVATE USE 2 years ang mga sasakyan at empleado ng pagcor…bakit yung NBI chief, bilbid chief, pdea chiefs at pag-asa chief…NEWS pa lang ang ALEGASYON TANGGAL na …ito si NAGIAT paulit-ulit ang KASIKATAN…e matibay pasa madulas na PADER……PAPANO titino ang taong gobyerno at MANINIWALA ang taong bayan kung protektado ang mga kkk ng bawat admnistration?

  • EdgarEdgar

    Whichever way you look at it, it just doesn’t add up. Okada is a crafty old fox. He would not have parted with $30 billion in early 2010 in favor of someone who’s about to leave office. Okada would have figured out as early as late 2009 that Genuino will be out of office by 2010. Any lobby fund or bribe for that matter should be going to Genuino’s probable successor — Bong Naguiat. And this is where things get complicated. The current Pagcor chief Naguiat is very close to the president and largely considered an untouchable sacred cow. In fact, Naguiat is so close to President Pnoy that despite the exposé of him and his family’s junket to Steve Wynn’s casino hotel in Macau he still was not dismissed from office.

    How far then can the DOJ dig into this whole mess, without digging up sh*t on Naguiat and implicating him?

    The dilemma of selective application of the law. The dilemma of protecting KKK, Inc.

    • Albert Einstien

      oo nga naman…TANGA lang magBIBIGAY ng LAGAY na $30million sa paalis na at  WALA naman pakinabang na……mga SKILLED BUSINESSMEN ang mga CASINO OPERATORS…..dapt  mahalukay din ang mga MEDIA at POLITKO na nasa payroll ng mga GAMBLING GIANTS….NBI /DOJ ….what are you NOYNOYING for…kilos na…!

  • Echuserang_Froglet

    mabuhay ang mga casino. ang tunay na pag asa ng bayan!

    inggit lang si wynn sa pilipinas at ginamit pa ang reuters na bayaran! pppppwwwwweeeee

  • ztefertilizerscam9

    Who is the Mastermind?(LOLONG)

    Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment (Universal) had paid as much as $30 million to a former Pagcor consultant in 2010 received by Rodolfo Soriano, a former Pagcor consultant and purported Genuino bagman.



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