Japanese billionaire fails to show up at DOJ

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 17 2013 03:27 PM | Updated as of Oct 18 2013 01:45 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Casino mogul Kazuo Okada and his alleged dummies failed to appear at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday to face the preliminary investigation on criminal charges involving his $2-billion resort casino at the Entertainment City in Parañaque City.

Senior Asst. State Prosecutor Deana Perez admitted that Okada’s subpoena was not sent, but noted that lawyers of the local firms, three of whom were present at the hearing, received the subpoena.

Okada's known address submitted by the NBI is in Japan, which is no longer in the jurisdiction of the DOJ.

“Whether or not Mr. Okada appears in our preliminary investigation, we will resolve the charges against him based on evidence we have because he is named respondent by the NBI [National Bureau of Investigation],” said Perez.

Present at the hearing were the lawyers of Okada’s three local firms, Eagle I Landholdings Inc., Eagle II Holdco Inc. and Tiger Resort Inc.

However, they said they are not ready to answer the charges and requested for more time to file the required counter-affidavits.

Perez granted the petition and gave respondents until November 7 to submit their replies.

Only Tiger resort director Ken Taura appeared on Thursday’s hearing to submit his counter-affidavit.

Taura denied the allegations and requested that the complaint be dismissed.

The lawyers of Tetsutaro Shibata, another Tiger director, were also present and asked the panel to extend the filing of counter-affidavit.

Okada is facing charges of violations of the Philippine Anti-Dummy Law, Public Land Act, Foreign Investment Act and Article XII of the constitution.

Also charged were eight other Japanese nationals identified as Tiger Resort chairman Hajime Tokuda; president Mitsuo Hida; and directors Taura Shibata, Takeshi Nojima, Koki Seki, Masato Araki and Manabu Kawasaki.

Seventeen Filipinos and 10 local and foreign companies who were allegedly used as dummies of Universal were also charged.

Another hearing was set on Friday to accommodate other local and foreign firms affiliated with Universal.