Kazuo Okada Exhausts Legal Appeals, Must Pay $194K to Universal Entertainment

Embattled Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada has been dealt yet another legal defeat in his ongoing battle with Universal Entertainment Corporation.

Kazuo Okada Universal Entertainment Wynn
Kazuo Okada Universal Entertainment Wynn
In this 2005 photo, Kazuo Okada is seen on the far left next to Elaine Wynn, seated behind Steve Wynn. Okada’s reputation, like his former friend Wynn, has been greatly tarnished in recent years. (Image: AP)

Universal, a gaming conglomerate founded by Okada in 1969, says the Tokyo Supreme Court last week ruled in its favor in upholding two lower court decisions.

The Tokyo District Court in February of 2020 ordered Okada to pay Universal JPY21.3 million (US$194,623) in damages for three alleged fraudulent acts committed by the now 78-year-old. The Tokyo High Court upheld the District Court’s decision a year ago this month.

With the Supreme Court also siding with the plaintiff, Universal says Okada has exhausted his legal appeals.

With this decision, the judgment fully recognizing the claims of the Company has been finalized,” a Universal statement declared.   

Universal is a casino operator and gaming manufacturer. The publicly traded firm owns and operates Okada Manila in the Philippines, and is a leading manufacturer of pachinko games and slot machines throughout Asia.

Okada Demise

Once one of Asia’s most powerful gaming magnates, Kazuo Okada was accused by Universal of committing three fraudulent acts while leading the organization.

Universal alleges that Okada issued a US$17.3 million interest-free loan from a company subsidiary to himself in March of 2015. The funds were said to be used to purchase artwork for his private collection.

Universal claims that in May of that same year, Okada instructed company finance employees to cut him a US$2 million check for unspecified reasons. The gaming company lastly contends that Okada personally changed the business entity that was purchasing land for a casino development in South Korea from a Universal subsidiary to a company he recently formed and personally owned called Okada Holdings Korea Co. Ltd.

As a result of the alleged fraudulent acts and a subsequent investigation, Universal in June of 2017 voted to remove Okada from the company he founded. Among the board members who backed his ousting as chairman of the board was Okada’s own son, Tomohiro Okada.

Okada’s estranged wife Takako Okada was another Universal board member who backed his forcible removal. Along with the nearly $200,000 in damages, Okada must cover court and legal costs for all parties involved.

Okada, Wynn Exits Similar

Kazuo Okada has defended his Universal actions in the years since his departure from the company. He believes his former wife orchestrated a smear campaign to have him disgracefully forced out.

In March of 2019, Okada launched a YouTube page with videos of him urging Universal insiders to help him expose the alleged graft. In one such video, Okada mimics Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character by claiming, “I’ll be back.”

Okada’s fortune was partially derived from being an early investor in Wynn Resorts. Okada held a 20 percent stake in the Las Vegas casino company until Steve Wynn disassociated from the Japanese businessman in 2008. That’s after claims of Okada bribing officials in the Philippines to gain licensure for his Manila casino were exposed.

Ironically, both Okada and Wynn blame their former wives for their falls from grace.

Okada believes his ex-wife, Takako Okada, masterminded the allegations that led to his exit from the global gaming industry. Steve Wynn has stated that his former wife, Elaine Wynn, was behind the sexual misconduct allegations that forced his departure from his namesake company.

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