Asia round-up: Okada disputes business disruption; Macau Covid outbreak & the Philippines
Kazuo Okada disputes business disruption claims at Okada Manila
The group representing Kazuo Okada, which retook the Okada Manila in highly controversial circumstances, has claimed activity at the casino has seen “business as usual” since the takeover.
The group claims no disruption of business operations will occur, with Okada himself noting all financial obligations are being met and all transactions are “on track.”
It was recently reported that Okada Manila had its bank accounts frozen, following an ongoing battle for control over the casino.
Attorney at Davina Law, Estrella Elamparo, who represents Tiger Resorts Asia (TRAL) and its owner Universal Entertainment Group, said on Sunday that BDO Unibank had required both the Kazuo Okada and TRAL parties to sign an agreement to disburse the salaries of the casino's employees.
Elamparo claimed the Kazuo Okada Group refused to sign an agreement containing the signature of TRAL director Hajime Tokuda.
She said: “Despite being on the right side of the law, the legitimate board of TRLEI decided to draft and sign the agreement, understanding that the welfare of employees is at stake.
“However, the camp of Kazuo Okada was not keen on signing the agreement, imposing unreasonable conditions.”
Yet Okada claims the purported bank freeze has “had no effect” on Okada Manila’s commitment to its partners and patrons.
“Despite being on the right side of the law, the legitimate board of TRLEI decided to draft and sign the agreement, understanding that the welfare of employees is at stake... However, the camp of Kazuo Okada was not keen on signing the agreement, imposing unreasonable conditions”Estrella Elamparo, Attorney at Davina Law
He claims the casino's management team is working closely with the banks involved to provide continued support to business needs at Okada Manila.
Furthermore, Okada has reaffirmed his commitment to prioritise the welfare of all employees and customers. The business mogul remarked there would “definitely” be no disruption to the salaries and compensation of casino employees.
Macau suffers fresh Covid outbreak
Macau has reported 36 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours as of 20 June 2022, in what is fast becoming the city’s worst outbreak since October 2021.
Speaking at a press conference of Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre, health official Alvis Lo lek Long confirmed the numbers, which rose from 31 infections at the end of the previous day.
The weekend also saw a dip in tourist movement, according to Macau’s Public Security Police force. There were 54% fewer visitors over the period.
Furthermore, as of 19 June, all visitors from Macau’s neighbouring province, Guangdong, must hold a Covid-19 test certificate issued within 24 hours.
Of the 36 infections, Lo claims only 10 were displaying Covid symptoms. Citywide testing has since taken place, with an estimated 460,000 people tested; around 270,000 of those have returned negative results.
Macau has re-introduced several red lockdown zones, seven of which are on Macau’s peninsula. These red zones indicate areas where positive cases were identified.
All digital health codes have been changed to red for those living in the worst-affected areas. Residents of these areas must stay inside and may only collect supplies from designated dropoffs.
Citizens are subject to on-site Covid tests on the first, second, third, fifth and seventh day of isolation.
The Philippines stuck on FATF grey list following latest review
The Philippines remains on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list following the latest review. Interestingly, outside of Asia, gaming hub Malta is off the grey list, while Gibraltar has been added to it.
The task force, which monitors anti-money laundering (AML) activity, remains concerned by the monitoring capabilities being undertaken at Filipino casinos and junkets.
The FATF has, however, noted improved steps taken by the Philippines to improve its AML and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), although the task force notes continued steps need to be taken before it is removed from the grey list.