A panel of prosecutors from the Philippines’ Department of Justice (DoJ) has indicted Japanese gaming entrepreneur Kazuo Okada and a number of other people on allegations of “direct assault”, “grave coercion”, the causing of “slight physical injuries”, and “unjust vexation”. The allegations are related to a May 31 incident where supporters of Mr Okada physically took over the premises of the Okada Manila casino resort in the Philippine capital.
The information is contained in a document, extracts of which were published by broadcaster ABS-CBN’s news service, and which was also cited by a number of other local media outlets.
Japan-based conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp, the parent of Okada Manila, had said in a September 4 statement that it had taken back physical control of Okada Manila.
It was another dramatic step in a long-running ownership dispute linked to Mr Okada. He founded Universal Entertainment, and also Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc (TRLEI), the operator of Okada Manila, but was ousted from both entities in June 2017, accused of fraud. He has denied wrongdoing.
In April this year, Mr Okada’s side was granted a “status quo ante” order by the Philippine Supreme Court, restoring the composition of the TRLEI board to how it was before he was ousted. His side cited that order as a justification for its May 31 takeover of Okada Manila.
On September 7, the country’s Court of Appeals denied a petition filed by representatives of Mr Okada to regain control of the TRLEI board.
The Department of Justice panel noted in its indictment document issued on August 25 – but only made public on Monday (October 3) – that Mr Okada’s standing as shareholder and board member of TRLEI had yet to be resolved by the country’s highest judicial authorities.
A press release with Monday’s date, issued by Universal Entertainment, clarified that Mr Okada had not been “physically present” during the May 31 takeover.
Despite not being physically present during the takeover, Mr Okada was found to be equally liable “since it appears that the incident happened with his prior knowledge, assent, or imprimatur”, according to the DoJ resolution.
Hans Van Der Sande, described in the Universal Entertainment press release as TRLEI’s chief financial officer, treasurer and also a board member, was cited as saying the firm was “grateful” to the Department of Justice panel for having “started the ball rolling” in relation to “advancing justice for the victims of the brutal takeover” that had occurred in May.
“We will continue to work with our lawyers and exhaust all legal means to win this case against the Kazuo group,” he added.
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