Billionaire Kazuo Okada charged with estafa, perjury in Makati, Paranaque courts by own casino
MANILA — The Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), the company behind the management of Okada Manila, filed two criminal complaints before prosecutors in the cities of Makati and Parañaque against Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada.
Okada served as chief executive officer of TRLEI, local subsidiary of Japanese firm Universal Entertainment Corporation (UEC) and owner and operator of casino resort-hotel Okada Manila, in April and May last year.
In a copy of the complaint furnished to the media on Monday, the TRLEI recently filed separate complaints for two counts of estafa against Okada before the Parañaque City Prosecutor’s Office and another charge for perjury before the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office.
TRLEI accused Okada of illegal disbursement of company funds amounting to more than USD3 million supposedly for his consultancy fees and salaries during his one-month tenure as CEO.
“Mr. Okada, taking advantage of his power and influence, as then most senior officer of TRLEI, fraudulently received TRLEI’s corporate funds (of at least $3,158,835.62) as supposed salaries and consultancy fee, which were not authorized, much less approved, by TRLEI’s Board of Directors. As said corporate funds were wrongfully received or acquired by Mr. Okada without authority and through fraud, he held the $3,158,835.62, by operation of law, in trust for, and thus, under legal obligation to return the same to, TRLEI,” read the complaint in first estafa case.
TRLEI alleged that Okada himself – in a span of just one month – caused the disbursement of the corporate funds through his accomplice, Takahiro Usui, who was then TRLEI president and chief operating officer and who was also named respondent in this complaint.
The complainant stressed that there was “no Board resolution, approving or authorizing the payment of (such) astronomical sums to Mr. Okada, whether as consultancy fee or salary. It is clear that (these) amounts received by Mr. Okada were unlawfully disbursed as these were not authorized or approved by TRLEI Board of Directors.”
On the second estafa case, which involves the supply of light emitting diode (LED) fixtures to Okada Manila by Okada’s personal company, Aruze Philippines Manufacturing, Inc. (APMI).
TRLEI alleged that the $7-million supply contract was given to APMI upon the behest or insistence of Okada, in conspiracy with his close associate, Kengo Takeda, who was the former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of TRLEI.
The LED fixtures were later found to be defective and APMI turned out to be not authorized to engage in the manufacturing of lighting materials contrary to its claim.
The complaint stated that “the influence and intercession of Mr. Okada and Mr. Takeda pushed complainant TRLEI to engage respondent APMI’s services”, and that Okada practically owned APMI so “any gains and benefits derived by APMI redounded to Mr. Okada’s personal benefit and advantage.”
TRLEI further accused Okada of conspiring with the other respondents and “made false pretenses or fraudulent representations as to Respondent APMI’s qualification, business, and skill in manufacturing the aforementioned LED strips. They also similarly deceived Complainant TRLEI by selling products which they knew were not suitable for the purpose for which Complainant TRLEI purchased them.”
APMI and Takeda were named co-respondents of Okada in the second estafa case.
Okada, Usui and Takeda were ousted from their respective positions at TRLEI in June 2017 during an urgent special stockholders’ meeting.
Okada was removed as director, Chairman and CEO while Usui, as director, President and COO. Takeda was removed as director and as Chief Technology Officer.
In a perjury complaint, TRLEI said that Okada and Usui made false statements under oath in their civil complaint questioning their ouster filed before the Paranaque City Regional Trial Court. Okada and Usui claimed that TRLEI did not submit an updated General Information Sheet for 2017 before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They also claimed that TRLEI implemented a mass lay-off of its employees and forced establishments inside the resort hotel to close shop.
But TRLEI said such claims were complete falsehoods because the company in fact submitted the amended GIS for 2017 on 3 July 2017 and that there was no mass layoff of employees as in fact more workers were being hired by Okada Manila. TRLEI also added that Okada Manila had not forced any business establishment to close shop.
TRLEI pointed out that Okada and Usui were removed in June 2017 and “could not even enter the premises of Okada Manila. As such, Respondents [Okada and Usui] have had no personal involvement in the management of Okada Manila since their removal, and thus, had no personal knowledge about Okada Manila’s present operations. Yet, Respondents willfully and deliberately made the foregoing false statements, fully aware that they had no personal knowledge thereof or supporting documents therefore, as, indeed, these statements are completely perjurious.”
Okada had faced criminal charges of violation of Anti-Dummy Law before the DOJ filed by the National Bureau of Investigation during the previous administration. But the case was not resolved and reportedly remanded back to the NBI for reinvestigation.
Aside from the cases filed in the Philippines, Okada is also facing a string of cases in South Korea, Hong Kong and Tokyo, Japan. (PNA)