Japan’s Universal says former chairman Okada arrested in Hong Kong

Universal Entertainment Corp’s founder and former chairman, Kazuo Okada attends a news conference at the Tokyo District Court in Tokyo. (Reuters pic)

TOKYO: Japanese gaming group Universal Entertainment Corp said on Monday its former chairman Kazuo Okada was arrested in Hong Kong by the territory’s Independent Commission Against Corruption in relation to multiple corruption-related offences.

Okada is on bail, said the company, which makes pin-ball style “pachinko” machines and operates a casino in the Philippines.

The Japanese billionaire lost his board position at Universal last year after it accused him of misappropriating $20 million. Okada has previously denied this. He was also ousted as a director of Hong Kong investment company Okada Holdings, which controls Universal.

Attempts to reach Okada by phone went unanswered. The Independent Commission Against Corruption declined to comment, saying it does not discuss individual cases.

Universal shares closed 5.6% lower after the news, which was released minutes before the market closed. The benchmark Nikkei 225 average ended little changed from its previous close.