A court in the Philippines ordered on Friday the arrest of 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.
Reuters news agency reported that a Paranaque City regional trial court had ordered the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police to present Mr Okada to court. The warrant of arrest was issued on Friday and made public Sunday, the media outlet reported.
Bail for Mr Okada was fixed at PHP348,000 (US$6,627) for all three charges, the news agency stated.
Reuters reported it was unclear if Mr Okada was in the Philippines when the court issued the arrest warrant.
The businessman was detained in Hong Kong in August in relation to corruption-related charges. He posted bond and surrendered his passport after attending an interview with Hong Kong’s anti-graft watchdog, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), GGRAsia reported at the time.
In a resolution dated December 7, the Department of Justice of the Philippines had 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.
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 Philippine court also ordered on Friday the arrest of Mr Usui, reported the Manila Standard.
In an email to GGRAsia sent by Mr Okada’s side on Sunday, the Japanese businessman was quoted as considering the charges against him as “baseless accusations.”
In a motion for reconsideration filed to the Department of Justice of the Philippines in December, Mr Okada’s side had argued the amounts involved in the case represented “his salaries and fees for his efforts, contribution and services in establishing Okada Manila pursuant to contracts entered into by him and Mr Usui, who was authorised by the board of directors of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment to enter in such contracts.”
Mr Okada further added in his Sunday comments: “These disbursements underwent the proper procedure and were processed by the concerned offices within the company.”
He stated: “These cases are only intended to destroy my reputation in the business community and discredit all the hard work I have put into the establishment, rise and success of Okada Manila, which is now operated by my accusers.”
In 2017 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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Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu
Analysts at brokerage Sanford Bernstein