TOKYO, May 24, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- We have initiated proceedings before the court for the collection of damages from The Asahi Shimbun Company (hereinafter referred "Asahi Shimbun") for a series of articles related to our company which appeared on the front page and page 2 of the morning edition dated December 30, 2012, on page 3 of the morning edition dated December 31, 2012, and the front page and page 3 of the morning edition of February 8, 2013, as well as related articles appearing on the Asahi Shimbun website which we believe have caused our company damage. (See Announcement Regarding the Initiation of Proceedings Before the Court for the Collection of Damages dated March 22, 2013.)
Regarding the legal action, as we explained in the document titled "Response from Asahi Newspaper and Our Understanding" dated Feb 18, 2013, important evidence forming the basis of the news agency's reports has never been disclosed, nor has the reason for this failure to disclose the evidence been explained. This is quite irrational. As a listed company which has social responsibility, we could not help taking a course of action through a court of law demanding that the related parties fulfill their accountability to explain.
It is a well-known fact that the Asahi Newspaper has continuously reported on our company regarding the facts of payments to our Philippines business, claiming that we conducted entertainment and bribery for the purpose of receiving favorable treatment for the casino development business.
However, the following conclusions are clear based on the response dated May 20, 2013 from the news agency regarding the said legal action for compensation.
Firstly, regarding the approximate $110,000 in expenses, statements by the Asahi Newspaper have no basis in fact and were solely based on speculation. Statements such as"regarding the planned casino development business in Philippines, the report does not indicate that the entertainment was done for the purpose of receiving favorable treatment for the company (Note: our company)" or "the report did not suggest it carried out illegal conduct in violation of the FCPA."
Next, regarding the remittance related to the land problem in the Philippines, the Asahi Newspaper has been publishing reports that our company has sent a large amount of money to an officer of PAGCOR and that the remittance was bribe. However, the recent response from Asahi Newspaper only repeated that "it did not indicate that the remittance was illegal" and that"regarding the planned casino development business in the Philippines, the report does not indicate that the entertainment was done for the purpose of receiving favorable treatment for the company (Note: our company)."
Furthermore, the Asahi Newspaper published the article with a huge headline that says "unclear remittance of huge amount of money" and considering the news agency's approach toward articles in the past, it is obvious that the article gives the strong impression to readers that the company conducted the remittance for the purpose of bribery. However, the response from the news agency indicates that "it does not say the remittance was illegal" and surprisingly enough it also makes excuses for having used the expression "unclear remittance of huge amount of money" about the fact that the company "filed a legal action against the former employee regarding illegal remittance."
What is clear, based on previous reports by the Asahi Newspaper, is that the articles reported that our company remitted the money for the purpose of a bribe, while the fact is that the news agency had no basis for claiming such. At this late date, Asahi Newspaper uses excuses such as the news agency used the word "illegal remittance not in the sense of a bribe but as an issue of governance, and that this all by itself clearly reveals that the forty million dollar remittance held no indication of bribery.
From the news agency`s answers it became clear that the FCPA violation regarding an approximately$110,000 transmittance did not exist and that there was no bribery involved in the forty million dollars. It also became clear that the reports in the past by the news agency had no basis and no evidence to back them up.
The lack of basis and evidence was obvious from the fact that the "Board Meeting Resolution" which Asahi Newspaper has alleged is their source has not been presented though the response deadline for documents is near.
Regarding the said forty million dollar payment, it was revealed that ten million dollars came back to us under the instructions of the former employee, and five million dollars was embezzled by the former employee. Based on our investigation, regarding the twenty-five million dollars, a false explanation that it was necessary for resolving the land problem was made by the person who was in charge of the land problem at that time. It also became clear that we, after becoming confused, mistakenly made that payment without any purpose of receiving some kind of favor. The company has already fired these employees who were involved and has been dealing with governance, including the establishment of an internal system. We also are also trying to collect the payment with no consideration of value through legal proceedings. We are confident that the public will be aware that it is a fact no bribery was conducted.
Additionally, as we conducted business in the Philippines, it was reported that the land acquisition was illegal in terms of foreign currency regulations and Philippine law. However, the land was acquired under the advice of a prominent local law firm in the Philippines, which advised us that it was legal, so this should not be an obstacle to the opening of business in the Philippines.
The company has suffered serious damage through the Asahi Newspaper reports indicating that "bribery was conducted."As the response made clear, if the news agency acknowledges that such remittance "was not unlawful remittance," we think that an appropriate measure, such as publication of a correction of the previous articles, should be made. (Asahi Newspaper seems to insist that the gist of the article was not in the illegal remittance, pointing out the issue of governance. However, based on the approach to the series of articles and the context of the reports, the only way to interpret the content is that Asahi Shimbun claims without any basis that "the company conducted bribery".)
However, considering the approach that the news agency has made toward reporting, we cannot help believing that it will be difficult to expect Asahi to make a voluntary effort in publishing a correction article. Accordingly, we have no internal reporting media, we decided to disclose this matter as part of our accountability to related parties by publishing these matters through IR.
Regarding the progress of the lawsuit, we will disclose the matter at the appropriate time as the facts become available. Once we have learned what the Asahi Newspaper's understanding of the issue is, we will continue to take legal measures in an uncompromising manner against Reuters, which triggered these baseless reports.
CONTACTS: Universal Entertainment Corporation (JASDAQ Code: 6425) PR&IR OFFICE Nobuyuki Horiuchi, Assistant General Manager Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Ariake Frontier Bldg, A, 3-7-26 Ariake, koto-ku, Tokyo, 135-0063 JAPAN TEL: +81-3-5530-3055 (switchboard)Source:Universal Entertainment Corporation