Monday’s arrest of Kazuo Okada at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport is being celebrated by the casino management company the 80-year-old billionaire founded in 2008.
Okada founded Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI) after being granted a gaming license in the Philippines. The Japanese gaming tycoon made his fortune through his Universal Entertainment Corporation, a manufacturer of pachinko machines, as well as being an early investor in Wynn Resorts.
Okada was removed from Universal and TRLEI in 2017 on boardroom allegations that he poached company funds for his personal use — claims he has continually denied. Since then, Okada has been scheming to resume control of his namesake $2.4 billion integrated resort in Manila’s Entertainment City.
Okada was arrested at 5:40 am local time on Monday upon traveling back to the Philippines after visiting his native Haneda, Japan. Okada has been a Philippines resident for many years.
Okada was detained on an arrest warrant issued after the Philippines Justice Department earlier this month indicted the gaming magnate on a single “grave coercion” charge. The charge stems from Okada leading an army of private security guards onto the Okada Manila grounds on May 31 and forcibly taking control of the property’s management.
TRLEI executives were removed from their offices during the raid. The Okada group managed the resort until PAGCOR, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, ordered TRLEI to be reinstated. The PAGCOR directive was carried out with assistance from the Philippine National Police.
TRLEI Says Progress Made
Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment’s lawsuit against Okada regarding his alleged graft remains unsettled, as does the firm’s legal fight that TRLEI — not the Okada group — is the rightful management firm of Okada Manila. The casino is owned by Universal.
Okada’s arrest is seen as a step in the right direction among TRLEI leaders.
“We are grateful to the Philippine authorities for their swift arrest of Kazuo Okada. We will continue to work with the law enforcement units to bring Kazuo Okada to justice,” TRLEI Director Kenshi Asano said in a statement to Casino.org.
As we wrap things up in fixing the mess that the Kazuo Okada group brought to Okada Manila, we are optimistic that the intra-corporate dispute will soon be resolved by the Philippine courts,” Asano continued.
“This marks a victory for Tiger Resorts as we continue to surface the truth to the public,” the TRLEI release concluded.
Okada, worth an estimated $1.1 billion according to Forbes, quickly posted bail for the “grave coercion” charge and was released. The billionaire has since vowed to fight the criminal charge.
I am confident that the legal process within the Philippine courts system will vindicate us in all the cases filed against me,” Okada declared.
Metropolitan Trial Court records show that Okada’s initial hearings are scheduled for later this month. A request to delay the proceedings until early December has already been filed.
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