Kazuo Okada arrested at Manila airport for coercion

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
Kazuo Okada has been arrested at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila for grave coercion following his indictment earlier this month.

According to details released by Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc’s (TRLEI) parent company Universal Entertainment, the Philippines National Police (PNP) Aviation Security Group arrested Kazuo Okada at Ninoy Aquino Terminal 1 at 5.40am on 17 October after he disembarked a flight from Haneda, Japan.

The Philippines Department of Justice indicted the 80-year old gaming magnate on “grave coercion” charges at the beginning of the month.

The charges relate to a confrontation that took place in May, wherein Kazuo Okada was accused of leading an “illegal and violent invasion” of the flagship Okada Manila integrated resort complex.      

Kazuo Okada’s group had cited a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) issued by the Philippines Supreme Court as the proximate cause of its activities, which had returned Kazuo Okada to Universal’s board.

The Japanese billionaire had previously been removed from his roles as CEO and chairman of the business for what had been described as “misappropriation of funds”.

Universal Entertainmen regained control of the occupied casino on 3 September, after Filipino regulator the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) withdrew its support for the Kazuo Okada-appointed board.

“We are grateful to the Philippine authorities for their swift arrest of Kazuo Okada,” said Kenshi Asano, director of Tiger Resort Asia and representative of TRLEI. “We will continue to work with the law enforcement units to bring Kazuo Okada to justice, as we have done in the past in other jurisdictions.

“As we wrap things up in fixing the mess that the Kazuo Okada group brought to Okada Manila, we are optimistic that the intra-corporate dispute will soon be resolved by the Philippine courts.”

Kazuo Okada is currently out on bail and has stated his intention to stay in the Philippines to fight the charges. Branch 91 of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) of Paranaque set his arraignment and pre-trial for 28 October, while Branch 90 of the MTC has set his arraignment and pre-trial for 7 November and 5 December.

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