MANILA, Philippines – Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada was arrested by authorities upon his arrival in Manila on Monday, October 17, for grave coercion cases lodged by former business partners and executives.
Okada was arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the early morning of Monday by the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group upon his arrival from Haneda, Japan.
The Metropolitan Trial Court of Paranaque Branch 90 and 91 issued warrants of arrest against Okada for grave coercion charges pertaining to the hostile takeover in Okada Manila last May.
The 80-year-old was able to post bail on the same day, his communications team confirmed to Rappler.
In a statement on Tuesday, October 18, Okada said that he returned to the Philippines to face the cases.
“I insisted on coming back to the Philippines despite several warnings from my lawyers that I may be detained by the authorities. I want to show to the Filipino people and the world that I am not afraid. I came back to face this ‘grave coercion’ charge against me and my associates. I have nothing to fear when I know I am standing on the right side of the law,” Okada said.
Okada Manila’s boardroom tug-of-war stems from a fiasco as to which companies, executives, and family members should take control of the $3-billion resort casino.
Recall that in 2017, the Japanese pachinko tycoon was booted out by the board for alleged misuse of funds.
But through a status quo ante order (SQAO) issued by the Supreme Court in 2022, Okada was able to reclaim the casino resort alongside allies, including businessman Antonio Cojuangco and Dindo Espeleta. Okada appointed his own board members upon the takeover.
But Okada’s board was booted out again last September, after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) intervened. Pagcor based its decision on a legal opinion of the Department of Justice, which noted that the SQAO did not empower Okada to appoint board members. (READ: Appeals court to Pagcor: Don’t muddle Okada Manila proceedings)
Okada Manila is currently controlled by the board backed by Universal Entertainment Corporation (UEC). Okada remains as a board member but does not support UEC. – Rappler.com