DOJ affirms dismissal of another estafa complaint vs Okada

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) affirmed the dismissal of an estafa complaint filed against Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada and several others over the supply of light-emitting diode (LED) strips for Okada Manila.

Two other estafa complaints against Okada had been dismissed in 2018, but Okada was recently indicted for another $3.1-million estafa case.

Okada's statement sent to reporters on Sunday, January 20, quoted the resolution of Assistant State Prosecutor Alejandro Daguiso on the dismissal affirmed by the DOJ.

In a resolution dated January 3, Daguiso said respondent Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Incorporated (TRLEI) failed to prove the alleged conspiracy among Okada, Kengo Takeda, Tetsuya Yokota, and Aruze Philippines Manufacturing Incorporated.

"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," said Daguiso's resolution.

"To summarize, we find 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 in the manufacture of the LED strips," the resolution added.

The DOJ said TRLEI had primarily relied on the testimony of its chief executive adviser Dindo Espeleto, who reportedly alleged close personal association among Okada and the respondents without providing concrete evidence regarding specific meetings, conversations, and dates during the negotiations for the deal. 

The DOJ said TRLEI's also "rendered itself defective" for failing to present receipts of either the delivery or payment of the LED strips.

Okada and the rest of respondents previously faced two estafa complaints that were already dismissed in 2018. The first complaint claimed Okada released $3.15 million in company funds for his and several associates' salaries and consultancy fees.

The second complaint was about about Aruze Philippines Manufacturing's payment of $7.09 million to supploy allegedly defective LED strips to the casino in Parañaque City. This complaint, dismissed for the first time on May 15, 2018, was the subject of the DOJ's January 3 resolution.

Okada, however, is still facing a 3rd estafa case. In December 2018, the DOJ found probable cause to indict Okada for 3 counts of estafa for allegedly getting over $3.1 million in company funds without authority from the board. The case was also filed by TRLEI.

A Parañaque City court later ordered Okada's arrest, with bail set at P348,000 for all 3 charges. – Rappler.com