Kazuo Okada, the Japanese billionaire and casino tycoon behind Universal Entertainment Corp., stated on Tuesday that he is considering legal action against news company Reuters for its report on shady payments to an ex-consultant of the Philippines‘ gambling authority. Universal Entertainment in the process of building a huge casino resort in the Southeast Asian country, and Reuters published reports on November 15th and 30th that said the company paid millions of dollars to officials from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR).
Okada’s Universal Entertainment has outright denied the allegations and says that Reuters misrepresented and ignored facts, relying instead on biased reporting. The news agency wrote that a total of $40 million was given to the government and related gambling institutions in the Philippines between December 2009 and May 2010. A spokesman for Reuters says they stand by their reports, and that they were fair and accurate. The official statement from Universal Entertainment says they are considering legal action in order to hold the news company legally accountable for damages caused by their reporting.
The Japanese manufacturer of gaming machines is already involved in several back-and-forth legal battles with Wynn Resorts, the Las Vegas casino empire, over board member positions and loss of equity. Universal says Reuters relied on “unfavorable” information from those involved in the cases. The Philippine government has already launched its own investigation into the bribery allegations, warning that authorities will revoke Universal’s casino license if they find any evidence. The company says it has already submitted detailed paperwork of its transactions to the Nevada gaming authorities, and that the real facts will be brought to light.
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