Japanese gaming entrepreneur Kazuo Okada (pictured) and one of his senior executives Takahiro Usui are to take fresh legal steps in the Philippines to try and quash arrest warrants that have been confirmed against them for three counts of alleged “estafa” – a form of fraud – involving US$3 million.
“Mr Okada and Mr Usui will vigorously defend themselves against these baseless accusations and shall continue to avail themselves of legal remedies by first filing a motion for reconsideration, and if it is denied, a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals of the Philippines,” said a statement issued in the Philippines on Saturday on behalf of the men.
On Friday local media had reported that a judge in a regional trial court in Parañaque, a district of Metro Manila, had reaffirmed its decision to order the arrests.
In January Reuters news agency had reported that agencies under the Philippine Department of Justice had ordered the arrest of Mr Okada and Mr Usui for three counts of estafa, because of a complaint by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, the promoter of casino resort Okada Manila. Tiger Resort is controlled by Japanese conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp.
The two were accused of misappropriation of company funds when Mr Okada was still chairman and chief executive of Tiger Resort, and Mr Usui was chief operating officer. They were removed from those roles in June 2017. Mr Okada was also removed that month as chairman of Universal Entertainment.
A court document forming part of Mr Okada and Mr Usui’s attempt to get the warrants lifted, was also released by their side on Saturday. It claimed a judge in the matter had shown “prejudgement” and “partiality” in the grounds for dismissing an earlier attempt to get the arrest warrants quashed.
Saturday’s statement on behalf of Mr Okada stated: “Mr Okada is responsible for the investment of more than US$2 billion in Okada Manila, which bears his name… ‘It is therefore absurd for him to defraud, or conspire to defraud, his own company for a measly US$3 million’.”
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Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings