Okada asks DoJ to reconsider estafa case

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EMBATTLED JAPANESE gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada seeks to overturn the Department of Justice (DoJ)’s resolution indicting him and a former associate of estafa, questioning the department’s supposedly erroneous findings on the case filed by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI).

In a 14-page motion for reconsideration, Mr. Okada claimed that he lawfully received $3.16 million as his salary for April and May 2017 as chief executive officer, and a fee as consultant of TRLEI — the firm that owns and operates integrated resort and casino Okada Manila in Entertainment City in Parañaque.

This is in reply to the justice department’s resolution dated Dec. 7, which states that Mr. Okada should face three counts of estafa for allegedly getting the funds without authorization from the TRLEI board of directors.

The DoJ also upheld TRLEI’s complaint against its former chief operating officer, Takahiro Usui, for conspiracy to commit estafa.

“Clearly, the subject moneys, which Mr. Okada lawfully earned, were neither acquired through mistake nor secured through fraud as to constitute an implied trust within the contemplation of Article 1456 of the Civil Code,” according to Mr. Okada’s motion.

The Japanese businessman noted that it was TRLEI’s Vice-President for Legal and Compliance Department Joseph Joemer C. Perez who “prepared, finalized, or at least approved” the agreement, after which was signed by Mr. Usui.

“Atty. Perez coordinated with then Director and Head of Business Administration, Yoshinao Negishi on the details of these Agreements, including Mr. Okada’s compensation. It was Bora Lee, complainant’s Corporate Planning Officer, who handed Mr. Usui these Agreements and instructed the latter to sign them,” Mr. Okada added.

Citing the minutes of the meeting of TRLEI’s board of directors on March 15, 2016, Mr. Okada highlighted that Mr. Usui has been authorized by the company to “execute and sign such documents and other instruments, for and on behalf of the corporation, as may be necessary or required to implement and carry into effect the foregoing authority.”

Mr. Okada further claimed that it was “ridiculous” for him to defraud, or conspire to defraud, Okada Manila of a measly $3.16 million, given that he was the one responsible for the $2-billion investment in the project at the time of its construction.

With this, Mr. Okada is asking the DoJ to defer the filing of cases against them, and to reconsider its “erroneous findings, and consequent baseless finding of probable cause.”

“From the foregoing, it is clear that there is no probable cause to indict respondents for the crime of estafa. There is no proof of misappropriation or unlawful receipt of moneys in this case, much less evidence of overt acts indicative of conspiracy between respondents,” Mr. Okada said. — Arra B. Francia