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Philippines government seek fraud charges against Kazuo Okada

Wed, Dec 19, 11:56am by Staff Writer

The Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) has recommended the filing of charges against Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada for the alleged misappropriation of over $3 million from Tiger Resorts, the operator of the Okada Manila casino. 

Okada was ousted from the board of Tiger Gaming’s parent, Universal Entertainment, in June 2017, accused of misappropriating $20 million in company funds.

Universal Entertainment is a pachinko and casino equipment giant that Okada himself established almost 50 years ago.

However, Okada filed a lawsuit against Tiger in September this year, stating that the grounds for ousting him were illegal, according to Reuters.

Department of Justice find cause to indict Okada for three counts of swindling

The DOJ, in a resolution dated Dec. 7 which was made public on Monday, stated that it had found cause to indict Okada for three counts of swindling after he acquired “through mistake or fraud” $3.15 million in salary and consultancy fees during his tenure as chief executive of Tiger Resort.

Tiger Resort had previously said the payments were facilitated by its former president and were not authorised by its board.

Okada has said that the money taken from Tiger and Universal Entertainment were legal director’s loans that he proceeded to reinvest into operations for the Okada Manila.

However, the DOJ allege that the Tiger transaction violated the company’s own regulations which state that such transactions can only be authorized with the full consent of the board.

Rean Balisi, legal counsel for Okada, said he will file a motion for reconsideration at the DOJ.

Okada was previously detained and questioned in Hong Kong in August this year, his location of residence, by the region’s corruption watchdog. He was later released on bail.

Another complaint made by 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.

This was allegedly in collusion with an associate of Mr Okada who had been working for Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment. However, the latest media reports on the DOJ fraud charges made no reference to this second complaint made by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment.

Okada Manila Performing Below Target According to Universal Entertainment

Universal Entertainment says the business performance at its Okada Manila casino resort in the Philippines has yet to achieve the targets set by the company.

In a statement filed to Jasdaq Securities Exchange on Monday, they stated that “the company’s casino resort business has been steadily increasing revenue and profit generated over time, [but] its results still fell below target”, in a year-to-date assessment.

However, it must be noted that Universal Entertainment said last week that in November, Okada Manila posted gross gaming revenue of PHP2.91 billion (US$55.1 million) and adjusted segment earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of PHP527.8 million. They had stated at the time that those indicators were a “record high respectively”.

Okada Manila is situated on the Entertainment City gaming strip in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines.

It occupies a significant piece of land on the strip, covering 44 hectares of picturesque oceanfront. It is an integrated resort, where visitors can take “stay, play, dine” and relax within the five star entertainment complex.

The Okada Manila features designer shopping with a mix of luxury brands, premium retail shops and pop-up boutiques.

The Cove Manila situated within the complex is a leading entertainment destination along the entertainment strip, a beach club and nightclub which regularly features both local and international artists at the venue.

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