The drama continues: Okada arrested in Manila


Universal Entertainment Corp founder Kazuo Okada attends a news conference at the Tokyo District Court in Tokyo, Japan September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Japanese gambling tycoon Kazuo Okada was arrested by law enforcement at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on Monday, months after his group launched a ‘violent’ takeover of the $2 billion Okada Manila casino resort of dollars.

Philippine National Police arrested Okada at Naia Terminal 1 at 5:40 a.m. after his flight arrived from Haneda Airport, Japan, according to Universal Entertainment, the Japan-listed company run by Okada’s estranged family. ‘Okada.

The Metropolitan Court of First Instance (MTC) of Parañaque Branches 90 and 91 issued arrest warrants for Okada on October 11, according to the statement.

“Kazuo Okada, along with his cronies Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco, Dindo Espeleta and attorney Florentino “Binky” Herrera, face criminal charges of aggravated coercion, following their unlawful and violent takeover of the in-house casino Okada Manila on May 31, 2022,” Universal Entertainment said.

Okada, in a separate statement, said he defied his lawyers’ warnings that he could be detained if he returned to the Philippines.

“I want to show the Filipino people and the world that I am not afraid. I have returned to face this charge of ‘severe duress’ against me and my associates,” Okada said in the statement, adding that he would post bail for his “temporary release”.

“I have nothing to fear when I know I am on the right side of the law. I will not bow to intimidation and I will not back down from this legal battle. This fight is not over,” said he added.

The Japanese tycoon also insisted he was the rightful owner of Okada Manila.

“I have instructed my legal team to use all legal remedies to ensure that those who cheated and robbed me in Okada Manila are sent to jail for their lies, deceit and usurpation of control operational from Okada Manila,” he said.

heated conflict

The lawsuits against Okada were filed by the board of directors of Okada Manila operator Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), represented by officers James Lorenzana, Hajime Tokuda and Michiake Satate.

TRLEI’s foreign parent company, Tiger Resort Asia Ltd., welcomed the arrest made by Philippine authorities.

“As we wrap things up to fix the mess that Kazuo Okada Group has brought to Okada Manila, we are optimistic that the intra-company dispute will soon be resolved in the Philippine courts,” Tiger Resort Asia Manager Kenshi said. Asano, in the press release.

Okada allies Cojuangco and Espeleta reportedly led a group of armed bodyguards to evict the TRLEI leaders and take physical control of Okada Manila last May.

Okada’s allied camp cited a Supreme Court standstill order, which ordered petitioners and defendants to return to the way things were before the Japanese tycoon was impeached in 2017 amid charges of misuse of millions of dollars of corporate funds.

The takeover was reversed last September in a move backed by gaming regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

Monday’s arrest comes a week after Okada’s new spokesman, attorney Rico Paolo Quicho, said Okada was determined to take over the casino complex along Manila Bay. Okada remains a member of TRLEI’s board of directors as the company complies with the Supreme Court’s standstill order.

Meanwhile, MTC Branch 91 has set Okada’s indictment and pretrial date for October 28, while MTC Branch 90 has set November 7’s arraignment and pretrial date. and December 5. INQ

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