CASINO

Kazuo Okada off the hook in $7M fraud case over ‘defective’ LED fixtures

TAGs: fraud, Kazuo Okada, okada manila, Philippines, Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment

Justice authorities in the Philippines have cleared Japanese casino magnate Kazuo Okada, along with several others, in the $7 million fraud case over the installation of LED fixtures in Okada Manila.

Kazuo Okada off the hook in $7M fraud case over ‘defective’ LED fixturesThe Department of Justice (DOJ) released a 10-page decision affirming the dismissal of the fraud case against Okada, former Okada Manila CEO Kengo Takeda, Aruze Philippines Manufacturing Inc. and its president, Tetsuya Yokota, local media outlets reported.

In the resolution, dated Dec. 21, 2018, Assistant State Prosecutor Alejandro Daguiso said Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment (TRLEI) “failed to prove” the respondents conspired. The prosecutors noted that, “From the records, there appears to be no concrete evidence at all of respondents’ alleged conspiracy and representations that brought about the contract in question.”

Last year, TRLEI, the Philippine unit of Japan-listed gaming conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp., lodged twin fraud and perjury cases against Okada—one of which was linked to the casino mogul’s decision to award a $7 million supply contract for the installation of LED fixtures on the façade of Okada Manila to his own company, Aruze.

Paranaque City prosecutors dismissed the fraud case in May over lack of probable cause to TRLEI’s claims “that a crime of estafa (fraud) has been committed.” Prosecutors also noted that the case was civil in nature.

According to the DOJ, TRLEI’s complaint relied on the claims made by its chief executive adviser, Dindo Espeleta, “of perceived close personal association and affinity between the individual Respondents without any reference to specific meeting or conversations on particular dates during the period of negotiations for the awarding of the Supply Agreement.”

TRLEI also failed to present receipts of the delivery or payment of the LED strips, the DOJ pointed out. The resolution also noted that Espeleta failed to conduct due diligence before the supply contract was signed, even though he had every opportunity to do so.

Ultimately, the DOJ ruled that “…there is no probable cause to conclude that criminal fraud occurred, absent any additional evidence that can refute the assertion that Complainant’s officers actually knew about the involvement of J&J [Philippines Corporation] in the manufacture of LED.”

TRLEI also accused Okada and former Tiger Resort President and COO Takahiro Usui of besmirching the company’s name after they allegedly made false claims that TRLEI laid off Okada Manila employees. That case was also dismissed by Makati City prosecutors due to insufficient evidence “to support a conclusion that the respondents’ assertion of a falsehood was willfully and deliberately made.”

Okada is currently facing charges of corruption and misappropriation of company funds, which the mogul claims are “only intended to destroy my reputation in the business community and discredit all the hard work I have put into the establishment, rise and success of Okada Manila, which is now operated by my accusers.”

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