January 6, 2019 / 10:50 AM / 4 months ago

Philippine court orders arrest of Japanese casino mogul Okada

MANILA (Reuters) - A Philippine court has ordered the arrest of Japanese pachinko billionaire Kazuo Okada, about a month after the country’s Department of Justice recommended the filing of charges against him over three counts of fraud.

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

The DOJ has found cause to indict Okada for three counts of swindling after he acquired “through mistake or fraud” $3.15 million in salary and consultancy fees during his tenure as chief executive of Manila casino operator Tiger Resort.

Okada had filed a motion for reconsideration at the DOJ, dismissing the accusations against him as baseless.

Judge Rolando How of the Paranaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 257 ordered the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police to present Okada to court. The warrant of arrest was issued on Friday and made public on Sunday.

The bail was fixed at 348,000 Philippine pesos ($6,627) for all three charges.

Tiger Resort previously said the payments were facilitated by its former president and were not authorized by its board.

Reody Anthony Balisi, Okada’s legal counsel in the Philippines, did not reply to Reuters’ requests for comment on the arrest warrant.

Okada last year was ousted as chairman of Tiger Resort’s parent, the Japanese gaming group Universal Entertainment Corp (6425.T), after Universal’s board accused him of misappropriating $20 million. He denied wrongdoing.

It was unclear if Okada was in the Philippines when the court issued the arrest warrant.

He was arrested in Hong Kong in August in relation to multiple corruption-related charges and is currently on bail.

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Toby Chopra

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