Makati prosecutor junks falsification raps vs tycoon Okada over bank signatories

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2022 05:30 PM

MANILA — The Makati City Prosecutor’s Office has junked falsification raps against gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada filed by a rival faction of his company, Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI), which operates casino-hotel Okada Manila.

Makati Assistant City Prosecutor Kristina Carmela So-Reyes, in a resolution dated July 29, dismissed due to lack of probable cause the falsification complaints filed by the group led by Hajime Tokuda (Tokuda group).

Tokuda was a director and stockholder of TRLEI until his group was ousted by the group of Okada (Okada group) which had obtained a status quo ante order (SQOA) from the Supreme Court in April this year.

Based on the SQOA, Okada reclaimed his former position as a stockholder, director, chairman, and CEO of TRLEI. 

He was removed in 2017 over corruption allegations but challenged his removal all the way to the Supreme Court.

But the Tokuda group refused to recognize Okada’s return to his old posts and vowed to question the “violent” takeover, going as far as filing kidnapping raps against Okada. 

The Tokuda group, on May 30, filed complaints for falsification of public document by a private individual, use of falsified document and other deceits against Okada, supposedly for falsifying and making false claims in a secretary’s certificate which TRLEI issued to a local bank.

The certificate indicated new bank signatories which included Dindo Espeleta, Modesto Josel Flores and Hiroshi Kawamura. They were earlier elected directors and officers during the takeover, along with Tetsuya Yokota. The 4 were named respondents in the falsification raps with Okada.

But the Tokuda group said the company has not yet revoked the earlier authorization for bank signatories.

Caught in the feuding of two factions, Banco de Oro (BDO) opted to freeze TRLEI’s bank accounts instead and filed an interpleader complaint in a lower court to determine who are the rightful signatories.

Assistant City Prosecutor So-Reyes dismissed all 3 raps.

In junking the complaint for falsification of public document by a private individual, she found that there was nothing in the secretary’s certificate that indicated that the Okada group made it appear that the Tokuda group had participated in the organizational meeting on May 2 where the authorized signatories were changed. 

Instead, she said that the transmittal letter to BDO indicated that only the Okada group was involved in that meeting.

She further ruled there was also no use of falsified document because the secretary’s certificate is not a falsified document and its issuance was based on the SQAO.

“Whether the SQAO was validly issued or whether Respondent Okada can validly claim majority ownership of Complainant are, again, issues that cannot be passed upon by this Office, in view of the pending action between the parties in the Supreme Court,” she said.

She added that there was no pretense or misrepresentation that the Okada group comprised the legitimate board of directors of TRLEI or that Okada is the majority owner of the company so as to make a case for committing other deceits.

The company’s amended general information sheet for 2021 submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, she said, disclosed it has “two contending board of directors whose legitimacy is pending determination in the Supreme Court.”

Both the Okada and Tokuda groups have been trading accusations since the takeover in May.

The Tokuda group recently accused the Okada group of taking money directly from the casino cage of Okada Manila and of refusing to open its books. It put out a full-page advertisement offering a reward in exchange for information that will lead to the recovery of allegedly stolen funds.

In contrast, the Okada group claimed higher revenues after the takeover.

The Okada controversy stems from a family squabble among the Okadas, with the son Tomohiro wrestling control of the parent company, Japan-based Universal Entertainment Corp., from his father. 

Tomohiro has urged his father to vacate Okada Manila.


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