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Casino mogul Kazuo Okada charged with fraud

Tue, Jan 8, 12:51pm by Staff Writer

A Philippine court has ordered the arrest of Japanese casino mogul Kazuo Okada after the country’s Department of Justice recommended filing charges against him on three counts of fraud.

The Japan Times reports that the Department of Justice found cause to indict Mr Okada after he acquired “through mistake or fraud” $3.15 million in salary and consultancy fees during his tenure as chief executive of Manila casino group operator Tiger Resort.

Mr Okada is a former executive at Wynn Resorts and later the chairman of the Universal Entertainment Corporation.

He was removed from his role at Universal Entertainment Corporation after he allegedly misappropriated $20 million in funds. He denied wrongdoing.

Mr Okada has maintained his innocence despite the allegation and filed a motion for reconsideration at the Department of Justice.

Judge Rolando How of the Paranaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 257 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.

Bail was fixed at 348,000 Philippine pesos ($6,627) for all three charges.

Mr Okada’s legal counsel in the Philippines is led by Reody Anthony Balisi who did not reply to requests for comment on the arrest warrant.

Mr Okada is currently on bail after he was arrested in Hong Kong in relation to multiple corruption charges.

Since Mr Okada’s removal from the Tiger Resorts, Leisure and Entertainment Board his son Tomohiro has had majority control of the company, which is controlled by Universal Entertainment Group.

Universal is in turn controlled by Okada Holdings Limited.

In a separate case last month, the Paranaque court threw out Okada’s petition to regain his position in Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment.

In that instance, the Department of Justice’s ruling read, “the fact that respondent Okada’s compensation under both agreements was determined in violation of complainant’s bylaws is enough reason for us to believe that the amount were not released properly.”

In his latest statement Okada said, “how can I defraud the company that I own? As owner of Okada Manila, it is absolutely absurd for me to ‘unlawfully take’ these salaries and fees.”

Okada never far from the spotlight

Last month, plans by Okada Manila to ring in the New Year by dropping 130,000 balloons in one of its nightclubs to set a new world record was met with angst.

The casino decided to voluntarily cancel the stunt as a “sign of respect” to environmentalists’ warnings according to a statement released last Sunday.

The Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources had joined green groups in criticising the balloon drop, saying it would generate a huge amount of waste.

In a statement on Monday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources chief Roy Cimatu described Okada Manila’s decision as “laudable”.

Okada Manila initially remarked that the balloons would be biodegradable and recycled after the event, according to New Straits Times.

The hotel’s social media pages were inundated with concern about its message, including from campaigners such as Greenpeace Philippines, with a petition gaining tens of thousands of signatures for the event to be cancelled.

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