CASINO

Short-lived relief: Kazuo Okada could still face charges in Philippines

TAGs: Kazuo Okada, Philippines, tiger resorts, Universal Entertainment

After having perjury and fraud charges against him dismissed in May by the Parañaque Prosecutors Office (PPO), Japanese casino billionaire Kazuo Okada breathed a sigh of relief. He had been sued by Tiger Resorts Leisure & Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), his former company, for $10 million, but the charges were dropped due to lack of probable cause. That sigh of relief was short-lived, though, as Okada could still face charges by the Philippine’s Department of Justice (DOJ).

Cleared by a Parañaque judge of fraud charges, Okada still has to face the US Department of JusticeThis past Wednesday, Philippine Justice chief Menardo Guevarra told reporters that the PPO’s decision has not yet been finalized. He added that there still exists the possibility for motions to have the case reconsidered or for petitions to be filed against the decision, noting that, “If upon review the DOJ sees it differently, the resolutions may be set aside, reversed or modified accordingly.”

There is also the possibility that the decision could be reversed due to a technicality, which would pave the way for the case to be reheard. Apparently, the ruling by the PPO on the case made its way to social media in May before it was announced to the parties involved in the lawsuit. TRLEI has since accused Amerhassan Paudac, a prosecutor for the PPO, of partiality in dismissing the suit and Paudac and Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr. have since been removed from the case. The DOJ has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the leak.

In January, TRLEI filed a lawsuit against Okada, accusing him of illegal disbursement of company funds. According to the suit, Okada took $3.1 million for “salaries and consultancy fees” when he served as Tiger Resorts CEO for a month in 2017. Takahiro Usui, who was serving as the casino’s chief operating officer at the time, was also named in the suit.

A fraud charge was also introduced based on a deal between Aruze Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (APMI) and Okada Manila, which is owned by TRLEI. That deal saw Okada Manila obligated to enter into a $7-million contract with APMI to supply the casino with LED lighting fixtures. APMI is allegedly controlled by Okada.

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