Philippines | Court orders Okada arrest for alleged embezzlement

Kazuo Okada

Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada faces arrest in the Philippines after a trial court issued a warrant on charges that he allegedly embezzled USD3.16 million in funds from the Okada Manila integrated casino resort.

The Paranaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 257 also ordered the arrest of Takahiro Usui, Okada’s associate and co-indicted by the justice department on allegations of unauthorized disbursement of company funds. The court, which issued the order Jan. 4, set bail at 348,000 pesos ($6,629) for each of the accused, court documents show.

The Philippine justice department filed three counts of estafa against Okada and Usui, alleging that, as chairman and president respectively of Okada Manila operator’s Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment Inc., they conspired in the release of $3.16 million of company funds from April through May 2017 purportedly for payment of Okada’s salary and consultancy fees. The disbursement wasn’t authorized by the board, according to the charges.

In an emailed statement from his legal counsel, Okada said the charges are baseless and that he couldn’t defraud his own company because, until his “illegal” ouster in June 2017, he was in full control of Tiger Resort when the transactions were done.

Okada also said that, as stated in his motion for reconsideration, the payments and fees were for services to the company and Usui was authorized by the board to enter into such contracts. Usai and his legal representative were unable to be reached for comment. Ian Sayson, Bloomberg

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