Philippine Court Issues Arrest Order for Casino Boss Kazuo Okada

Philippine court orders the country’s police to arrest Japanese casino mogul Kazuo Okada on three counts of fraud

A Philippine court has ordered the arrest of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada after the country’s Department of Justice recommended last month the leveling of charges against him on three counts of fraud. The court issued the arrest order on Friday and it was made public on Sunday, Reuters reports.

Back in December, the Philippine DoJ issued a ruling on a legal motion filed by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, the operator of the Okada Manila casino resort. The ruling read that Mr. Okada misappropriated over $3.1 million from the company. The agency also recommended the filing of charges against the embattled businessman over three counts of fraud.

Mr. Okada sought reversal of the DoJ ruling, arguing that the Department dismissed crucial evidence while preparing its decision. In a 14-page motion filed late last year, the businessman’s legal team said that he obtained the contested amount of money as salaries for serving as CEO of Tiger Resort and in consultancy fees for the months of April and May 2017.

Mr. Okada and his legal team thus disputed DoJ’s statement that he acquired the above-mentioned amount “through mistake or fraud.”

Tiger Resort is a subsidiary of Universal Entertainment Corp., the Japanese pachinko manufacturer Mr. Okada himself founded more than five decades ago. In 2017, Mr. Okada was ousted from the board of the Philippine casino operator after allegations emerged that he had misappropriated funds without the approval of fellow board members.

Arrest Order

On Friday, Judge Rolando How of the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 257 ordered the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to present Mr. Okada to court. It was unknown whether the Japanese businessman was in the Philippines at the time of issuance of the order.

The local court fixed a bail at PHP348,000 (approx. $6,627) for all three charges the DoJ recommended in its December resolution.

In its motion, Tiger Resort has said that the company’s former Chief Operating Officer Takahiro Usui facilitated the contested payments to Mr. Okada. Mr. Okada claimed that Mr. Usui had been authorized to sign agreements and related documentation in response to DoJ’s argument that the former COO did not have the proper authorization to sign any papers without the board’s approval.

According to local media reports, Judge How issued on Friday an order for the arrest of Mr. Usui, as well.

Mr. Okada was detained in Hong Kong in August 2018 over corruption-related charges. The businessman had to surrender his passport after an interview with the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption, known to be the city’s anti-graft regulator.

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