MANILA (UPDATED) - A Parañaque court has ordered the arrest of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada in connection with 3 estafa cases.
The billionaire is accused of receiving $3.1 million in alleged unauthorized compensation from the board of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI), the operator of casino-resort hotel complex Okada Manila.
In the warrant of arrest dated January 4, 2019, Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 257 Judge Rolando How ordered the police and National Bureau of Investigation to arrest Okada and fellow-accused Takahiro Usui.
Okada was director, chairman and chief executive officer of TRLEI.
Usui was the firm's director, chief operating officer and president.
Okada allegedly pocketed $443,835.62 and $500,000 in salaries for April and May 2017, and $2.215 million in consultancy fees from November 2016 to March 2017, all without the proper authorization from TRLEI’s board.
Usui, meanwhile, is accused of facilitating the payment to Okada.
The 3 criminal complaints were filed on December 28, 2018, 21 days after Assistant State Prosecutor Alejandro Daguiso reversed an earlier ruling from the Parañaque City Prosecutor’s Office dismissing the complaints against Okada and Usui.
In indicting Okada and Usui, Daguiso said Okada’s compensation was received through mistake or fraud, which under Article 1456 of the Civil Code, should be held in trust to be returned to the owner.
Abuse of this trust, Daguiso said, can be the basis for criminal liability for estafa with abuse of confidence.
The tycoon’s camp earlier maintained he received the money as lawful compensation and his indictment was erroneous as there was no proof of misappropriation nor evidence of any conspiracy.
“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,” Okada said in his motion for reconsideration before the Department of Justice on December 19.
Okada was removed as CEO of Tiger Resort in June 2017 due to “serious violation of governance” over a $17.3-million loan.
He filed a suit in September 2018 saying his ouster was illegal.