THE M3: OKADA BRIBERY PROBE; SINGAPORE DEBT

The Macau Metro Monitor, April 10, 2013

 

 

U.S. SAYS OKADA'S UNIVERSAL IS TARGET OF CRIMINAL BRIBERY PROBE Reuters

In a Nevada state court filing, U.S. federal prosecutors sought permission to intervene in a lawsuit brought by WYNN against Okada to prevent disrupting an ongoing criminal probe into the bribery allegations.  It was the first time U.S. authorities publicly acknowledged a criminal investigation of Okada and his companies - Japan's Universal Entertainment Corp and Aruze USA Inc - for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, an anti-bribery statute dating to the 1970s.

 

The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking a temporary stay on discovery in the civil proceedings to allow for the criminal case to be developed.  Wynn would consent to the motion while Okada would likely oppose it, according to the filing.

 

The government also noted in the filing that it has been conducting a criminal investigation into Wynn's donation in 2011 to the University of Macau Development Foundation.  Okada has said Wynn's board turned against him for opposing the donation.

 

HIGH-ROLLERS FROM CHINA MAKE SINGAPORE CASINOS SEE RED Reuters

An examination of court documents by Reuters and a series of interviews with lawyers and industry executives reveal that several of the gamblers have run up millions of dollars in debt and then scampered back to China, where they are effectively untouchable.

 

When faced with bad debts, casinos negotiate with the gamblers, and as a last resort, file suits in court. But as gambling debt is considered a civil, not criminal, issue in Singapore, gamblers who fail to pay will not be arrested.

 

The two casinos have sued at least three Chinese gamblers to recover millions of dollars but court documents show they have not been able to get any money from them so far.  Court documents also show that Marina Bay Sands has filed 84 claims for at least S$250,000 each at Singapore's top court since 2010, including 62 last year and 11 as of mid-March this year.  Resorts World filed 11 cases in 2012 and one in 2010. These cases relate to all manner of claims, not just gambling debts.

 

Many of the suits filed in the Singapore court are against gamblers based in the country, but there are likely to be larger claims on Chinese high-rollers that are not pursued due to the "painful" process and the potential bad publicity, lawyers said.

 

Singapore does not have reciprocal enforcement of judgments with China, except for Hong Kong. This means that even if a casino obtains a judgment in a Singapore court, it also has to sue the gambler in China.

 

"If there is a lot of gambling debt and the gambler is in China now, usually the casinos can hardly get any cooperation from the Chinese government to go after them because gambling is illegal in China," said Huang Jing, director at the Center on Asia and Globalization at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, who advises China's policymakers.


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