The Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) has recommended the filing of charges against Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Kazuo Okada (pictured) for allegedly misappropriating more than US$3 million from Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, operator of the Okada Manila casino resort.
In a resolution dated December 7 but made public on Monday, the Department of Justice said it found cause to indict Mr Okada for three counts of swindling after he acquired “through mistake or fraud” US$3.15 million in salary and consultancy fees during his term as chief executive of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment.
In June, the country’s Justice Secretary, Menardo Guevarra, had said that the allegations that Mr Okada was involved in a US$10-million swindle against Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment had “not yet been fully laid to rest”. Mr Guevarra’s comments came following reports that the allegations against Mr Okada had been dismissed by the Parañaque City prosecutor’s office.
Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment – which is controlled by Japan-listed Universal Entertainment Corp, a firm also founded by Mr Okada but that is currently in dispute with him – accused Mr Okada of illegal disbursement of company funds amounting to US$3 million, without the approval of the board, reportedly for his consultancy work and for salaries.
The operator of Okada Manila previously said the payments were facilitated by its former chief operating officer and president Takahiro Usui, and were not authorised by the firm’s board as required by the company’s by-laws. The Department of Justice also recommended charges against Mr Usui, reported Reuters news agency.
Another complaint from Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment involved a US$7-million contract to supply LED fittings for Okada Manila, via what was described as Mr Okada’s own company, Aruze Philippines Manufacturing Inc, allegedly in collusion with an associate of Mr Okada that had been working for Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment. The latest media reports on the Department of Justice fraud charges made no reference to the second complaint by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment.
Reuters quoted Rean Balisi, Mr Okada’s legal counsel, as saying that he would file a motion for reconsideration with the Department of Justice.
Last year Mr Okada was shunted from the board of Universal Entertainment and then removed from the chair of Tiger Resorts, Leisure and Entertainment. He was subsequently removed from Okada Holdings Ltd, a private company in Hong Kong which holds more than two-thirds of the stock of Universal Entertainment. Mr Okada is currently taking legal action to regain control of Okada Holdings.
Mr Okada has also filed a lawsuit in the Philippines against Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, seeking to nullify his removal as shareholder, director and officer of that company.
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