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DoJ denies conflict of interest in Okada estafa case

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KAZUO OKADA — PHILSTAR

THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) denied the allegations of conflict of interest on the part of Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra in connection with the National Prosecution Service’s (NPS) decision indicting Japanese gambling tycoon Kazuo Okada of estafa.

The alleged conflict of interest stems from the engagement of Mr. Guevarra’s son as an associate director of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI), the company behind casino resort Okada Manila, that filed charges against Mr. Okada.

In a press statement, DoJ Undersecretary and Spokesperson Markk L. Perete said the “speculation is unfounded.”

Mr. Perete noted that the NPS is independent from the office of Mr. Guevarra.

“Its resolution in the Okada case was arrived at by the prosecutor handling the case without the intervention or influence of the Secretary,” Mr. Perete stated.

He also emphasized that Mr. Guevarra met with the parties on June 27, 2018, after the case reached the Department in May, where he informed them that his son works for TRLEI.




The Justice chief also noted in the meeting that his son initially applied for a managerial position in November 2017, but was offered the associate director position in December 2017.

Mr. Guevarra was appointed to the DoJ post on April 5, 2018 after the resignation of former Justice secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II.

“The Secretary likewise assured the counsel (of) both parties that the engagement of his son by Tiger Resorts would have no bearing in the resolution of their cases, and that these cases will be resolved with utmost impartiality,” Mr. Perete said.

“The Secretary stresses that his son knew absolutely nothing about the cases involving Tiger Resorts and Mr. Okada. Neither have (the) father and son discussed these cases in any way,” he added.

Mr. Perete also said the Secretary will inhibit from resolving the cases should his son not resign from TRLEI, and even consider resigning from his position.

Last Dec. 7, the NPS indicted Mr. Okada and Takahiro Usui, Okada Manila’s former operating officer and president, for allegedly conspiring over the $3.16-million transferred to Mr. Okada as his compensation as former chief executive officer and consultancy fee. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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