Japanese gaming mogul Kazuo Okada has accused his former company of trying to ruin his reputation after a Parañaque City court issued on Friday a warrant for his arrest over three counts of fraud.
Okada is accused of misappropriating around US$3.1 million salaries and fees from Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc (TRLEI) – the subsidiary of Universal Entertainment Corp that operates Okada Manila – during his time as Chairman and CEO. According to a TRLEI complaint, Okada received almost US$950,000 in salaries and US$2.2 million in consultancy fees between late 2016 and early 2017 in violation of the company’s by-laws.
Also named on the arrest warrant is Aruze Gaming’s Group CEO and former TRLEI President and COO Takahiro Usui, with the court ordering enforcement of the warrant by the Makati and Parañaque police, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. Bail has been set at Php348,000 (US$6,640) for each defendant.
Okada was quick to plead his innocence over the weekend, sending a strongly-worded statement to Inside Asian Gaming in which he said the accusations 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.”
Describing the charges against him as baseless, Okada added, “How can I defraud the company that I own?
“TRLEI is 100% controlled by Universal Entertainment Corporation (UEC), 67.9% shares of which is controlled by Okada Holdings Limited (OHL). OHL is a corporation which I essentially own as I technically have control over all of OHL’s shares. OHL holds 100% of the shares of Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL), which in turn, owns 99.99% of TRLEI.
“As owner of Okada Manila, it is absolutely absurd for me to ‘unlawfully take’ these salaries and fees. I was responsible for the investment of more than US$2 billion in Okada Manila. How would I commit estafa against TRLEI and Okada Manila for a measly amount of salaries when I was the one who established and caused the rise and success of Okada Manila?
“These disbursements underwent the proper procedure and were processed by the concerned offices within the company.”
The issuance of arrest warrants for Okada and Usui come after the Philippines Department of Justice overturned a previous ruling by the Office of the City Prosecutor in Parañaque dismissing the case.