Casino Boss Kazuo Okada Detained in Hong Kong on Fraud Charges

Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada was reportedly arrested in Hong Kong on fraud charges, according to Chinese media outlets. Mr. Okada was the founder and Chairman of pachinko and slot machine manufacturer Universal Entertainment Corp., but was ousted from the company last summer after being found to have transferred more than HK$150 million from its accounts for personal benefit.

Chinese media outlets reported late last week that Mr. Okada was detained by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption. Established in 1974, the independent agency is responsible for investigating and eliminating corrupt activities.

As mentioned above, Mr. Okada was forced out of the company after reports emerged that he had misappropriated funds on two main occasions between 2015 and 2016. The first occasion had involved the businessman transferring the amount of HK$135 million as a loan to Goldluck Tech Limited, a company that, as it had turned out, he had been associated with. The transfer had been carried out without a necessary approval from the company’s board.

The second occasion had involved Mr. Okada ordering the preparation of a HK$16-million bearer check from Tiger Resort Asia, a subsidiary of Universal Entertainment, and had brought that out. Following investigation by an independent unit, it was found out that the businessman had sought personal gain.

Mr. Okada was also ousted from Tiger Resort Asia whose subsidiary Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment developed and operates the Okada Manila integrated resort in the Philippine capital. The Japanese tycoon faces multiple lawsuits in relation to his misappropriation of company funds.

Leaked Resolution

News emerged last month that Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment has asked the Philippine Department of Justice to investigate the leakage of a court resolution in relation to Mr. Okada’s fraud case.

Earlier this year, leaked sections of a resolution favoring Mr. Okada were posted by his “close companion” Chloe Kim on her Facebook profile. The leaked legal document reportedly had the signature of Parañaque City Prosecutor Amerhassan Paudac, who presided the businessman’s case in the Philippines.

Mr. Paudac formed a panel to investigate the matter and asked the Philippine Bureau of Investigation to probe Ms. Kim’s social media profiles. However, Tiger Resort turned to the DOJ, asking it formally to take on the investigation, as it considered it improper for Mr. Paudac to participate and that his involvement was “whitewashed”, “self-serving, and unjustified.” The company had previously said that the prosecutor should restrain himself from the case as he had been biased toward the Japanese gaming tycoon.

The DOJ has said that it look into the matter as soon as possible. Tiger Resort’s lawsuit against the businessman is one of piling legal battles the businessman has been facing. As mentioned above, the company operates the Okada Manila casino resort which is one of three properties of this kind operating within Manila’s Entertainment City.

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