THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DOJ) has recommended the filing of charges against Japanese pachinko billionaire Kazuo Okada for allegedly misappropriating over $3 million from the operator of the Okada Manila casino.
The DOJ, in a resolution dated Dec. 7 and made public on Monday, said it found cause to indict Mr. Okada for three counts of swindling after he acquired “through mistake or fraud” $3.15 million in salary and consultancy fees during his tenure as chief executive of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI).
The DoJ resolution, based on a complaint filed by TRLEI, reversed a May 11 ruling of Parañaque’s Office of the City Prosecutor, which dismissed the three counts of estafa against Mr. Okada.
In its decision, the DoJ said the amounts given to Mr. Okada, facilitated by Okada Manila’s former chief operating officer and president, Takahiro Usui, was not released properly according to the by-laws of TRLEI which states that “officers shall receive such remuneration as the Board of Directors may determine.”
“Such actions on the part of both Respondents (Messrs. Okada and Usui), in violation of Complainant’s by-laws, is enough probable cause to conclude that the release of amounts were irregular and done to the prejudice of the Complainant,” the DoJ resolution read.
Tiger Resort previously said the payments were facilitated by its former president and were not authorised by its board. On Monday, the company said it has not received the resolution and so declined to comment.
Rean Balisi, Okada’s legal counsel, said he will file a motion for reconsideration at the DoJ.
Mr. Okada has previously referred to the dispute as an internal matter.
He was ousted last year as chairman of Tiger Resort’s parent, the Japanese gaming group Universal Entertainment Corp 6425.T, after Universal’s board accused him of misappropriating $20 million. Mr. Okada denied wrongdoing.
He was arrested in Hong Kong in August in relation to multiple corruption-related charges and is currently on bail. — Reuters with Vann Marlo M. Villegas