Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada was arrested upon arrival in the Philippines and is now out on bail. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Ignore the warning signs
Japanese financial tycoon and owner of the Okada Resort Manila Kazuo Okada was arrested as he entered the Philippines on Monday.
“I insisted on returning to the Philippines despite numerous warnings from my lawyers that I might be detained by the authorities,” Okada said after being released on bail.
He faces charges of gross coercion related to the hostile takeover of Okada, Manila
The 80-year-old billionaire is facing charges of perpetration in connection with the hostile takeover of Okada, Manila earlier this year. He ran the resort until he was fired in 2017 for allegedly embezzling more than $20 million in funds, and his return led to several attacks by his opponents.
Okada was arrested in the Philippines
Okada was arrested at Ninoy Aquino International Airport by the Philippine National Police’s aviation security group after arriving from Haneda, Japan. He was able to release him on bail soon after and issued a statement on Tuesday.
“I will not bow down to intimidation and I will not back down from this legal battle,” Okada said. “This fight is not over yet. I want to show the Filipino people and the world that I am not afraid.”
The current legal issues stem from the power struggle in Okada Manila, which is estimated to be worth about $3 billion. Okada was banned from operating the casino until the Philippine Supreme Court issued a “status quo order (SQAQ)” in April that reinstated his positions as shareholder, director, CEO and chairman.
SQAQ did not authorize Okada to appoint new board members
With the help of allies Antonio Kogwangko and Dendo Espleta, Team Okada was able to reclaim its share as the Okada Manila Salad. However, the flop continued when PAGCOR kicked out Okada’s business partners last September. PAGCOR cited a ruling from the Department of Justice, which states that SQAQ has not authorized Okada to appoint new board members.
Then, in May, Okada’s partners returned and fired the existing board members, only to have PAGCOR remove them again and replace them with the previous board, with the support of casino parent group Tiger Resorts Asia.
tug of war
The situation in Okada Manila has swung from “chaos” to “disaster” recently. In September, PAGCOR staged a coup with the help of 50 masked members of the former board of directors and the National Police disguised as casino workers.
The back-and-forth payment has delayed the casino’s plans to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange via a partnership with 26 Capital Acquisition. The partnership was supposed to coincide with the resurgence of travel and tourism amid the recovery from the global pandemic, but the power struggle stopped foreign investors.
Okada is scheduled to appear in court to appear in court in his case next week, according to his opponents.
“We will continue to work with law enforcement units to bring Kazuo Okada to justice, as we have done in the past in other jurisdictions,” Kenichi Asano, manager and representative of Tiger Asia Resort in Okada, Manila, said in a statement.
An Okada representative confirmed the indictment but did not say when. The Philippine Department of Justice has already dismissed the cases against Okada and his team for kidnapping and assault, among other charges.