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Parañaque court orders arrest of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada

MANILA, Philippines – A Parañaque City court ordered the arrest of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada over 3 counts of estafa stemming from a complaint filed by Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Incorporated (TRLEI).

Judge Rolando How of Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 257 issued the warrant of arrest for Okada and Takahiro Usui, former TRLEI president and chief operating officer, on Friday, January 4.

Bail was set at P348,000 for all 3 charges.

The order came almost a month after the Department of Justice (DOJ) found probable cause to indict Okada for estafa for allegedly embezzling over $3.1 million in company funds.

The DOJ resolution reversed an earlier ruling by the Parañaque prosecutor's office which dismissed the complaint for being an "intra-corporate dispute."

The reinvestigation stemmed from motions filed by TRLEI before the DOJ.

Okada has maintained that the money was for his salaries and consultancy fees, and released through the proper channels.

"As owner of Okada Manila, it is absolutely absurd for me to 'unlawfully take' these salaries and fees," he said in a statement sent to media on Sunday, January 6.

"I was responsible for the investment of more than $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?" he added.

The DOJ, however, said that the tycoon's "defenses are now appropriately matters of evidence to be proven in a full-blown trial."

The justice department also denied allegations that Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra intervened in the reinvestigation. Guevarra's son was hired by TRLEI to handle legal conflicts and media management. – Rappler.com