Universal Drops Employee Suit

Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada (l.) and his Universal Entertainment Corp. will not pursue damages against former employees who accused the firm of bribing Philippine officials for a casino license.

Universal sought million in losses

Universal Entertainment Group, owned by Japanese gaming titan Kazuo Okada, will drop its claim for damages against a group of former staffers who said the company paid off Philippine officials to get a casino license.

According to GGRAsia, the employees alleged that Okada’s company paid up to $40 million in bribes to officials to guarantee that Universal Entertainment received a provisional casino license in the Philippines.

Universal suggested it dropped the suit because it is a distraction as the company completes its resort project in Manila’s Entertainment City. Universal affiliate Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc. is building the $2 billion Manila Bay Resorts in the special complex, located in the Philippines’ capital city. The resort is expected to open by the end of 2016.

Universal originally sought damages to cover $10 million in claimed losses, Reuters reported. The news agency added that the legal dispute involved three former employees in two related lawsuits. “A financial institution has recently requested us to end the litigations… in order to raise funds for the Manila Bay Resorts project smoothly,” Universal Entertainment stated in the press release.

“After considering the request from the financial institution, the company has determined that it is helpful to concentrate its business resources in order to open the casino resort promptly and concluded to abandon the claims,” the firm added.

Reuters said one of the former employees is still pursuing a countersuit filed in 2013 against Universal Entertainment, Okada and a company lawyer named Yuki Arai, alleging defamation of character.