Date
19 November 2017
Artist's impression of the casino Universal Entertainment is building in Manila Bay. Photo: Bloomberg
Artist's impression of the casino Universal Entertainment is building in Manila Bay. Photo: Bloomberg

ICAC, Japan probe Universal casino payments

Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating payments made by Tokyo-based Universal Entertainment Corp., Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.

Japan’s tax authorities are reviewing how the slot machine maker and casino developer accounted for US$40 million in payments made in 2010 to an associate of the Philippines’ top gambling regulator at that time, the report said.

The ICAC has become involved because the transfers being reviewed passed through bank accounts based in Hong Kong.

Universal said in a statement Wednesday its United States-based subsidiary, Aruze USA, had received a subpoena from a federal grand jury that it believed was related to “suspicion” of bribery related to the payments.

The FBI has been investigating whether payments that originated in a bank account held by Aruze USA that were made in 2010 to Rodolfo Soriano, an associate of the then-head of the Philippine gaming regulator, constituted a violation of US anti-bribery laws.

At the time, Universal was seeking tax and other concessions related to a casino it is building on Manila Bay.

The National Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines investigated the case as potential bribery but said it was suspending that probe because it did not have access to witnesses in Japan.

ICAC spokesman Lewis Tam said the agency “would not comment on individual cases”.

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CG/FL

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