DOJ indicts gambling tycoon Kazuo Okada for estafa

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicted Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada for a $3-million estafa complaint filed by Okada Manila owner and operator Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Incorporated (TRLEI).

In a resolution issued on December 7, 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.

Okada's co-respondent Takahiro Usui, former TRLEI president and chief operating officer, was also indicted for conspiracy in relation to the estafa complaint.

The DOJ resolution reversed the May 11, 2018, resolution of Parañaque City Prosecutor Amerhassan C. Paudac dismissing the estafa complaint against Okada as it supposedly constituted an intra-corporate dispute.

In the first estafa complaint where Usui was also named as a respondent, TRLEI accused Okada of illegal disbursement of  $3.1 million in company funds. It said the amount was not duly authorized by the TRLEI board.

In his counter-affidavit, Okada maintained that the amounts involved were payment due him for consultancy fees and a month's salary as TRLEI CEO. Usui, for his part, said the alleged conspiracy was not proven as the complaint was not supported by a document showing that he allowed the release of the amounts to Okada.

The DOJ said it found Okada’s arguments unconvincing and that his “defenses are now appropriately matters of evidence to be proven in a full-blown trial.”

“The fact that respondent Okada’s compensation under both agreements was determined in violation of complainant’s by-laws is enough reason for us to believe that the amounts were not released properly.”

“Such actions on the part of both respondents, in violation of complainant’s by-laws, is enough probable cause to conclude that the release of the amounts were irregular and done to the prejudice of complainant,”  it added.

The DOJ took over the case in June after TRLEI sought the reinvestigation of the dismissal of the complaint. 

The second estafa complaint against Okada  involved the supply of LED fixtures to Okada Manila. TRLEI alleged that Okada’s personal company, Aruze Philippines Manufacturing Incorporated (APMI), got the $7-million supply contract at the behest of Okada, in conspiracy with former TRLEI chief technology officer, Kengo Takeda.–