Japanese gaming mogul Kazuo Okada confirmed he was detained upon his return to the Philippines for grave coercion cases linked to his forceful takeover of the Okada Manila casino in May. Mr. Okada was released immediately after posting bail on October 17th.
The businessman explained he had insisted on coming back to the Philippines although his lawyers had warned him that he might be arrested by the local authorities. In his statement, he shared that he wanted to show to the world and the Filipino people that he was not afraid of facing the grave coercion charges because he was sure he was standing “on the right side of the law”.
The 80-year-old Okada was able to post bail on the same day, as confirmed by his communications team.
A separate statement, saying that the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group arrested the Japanese gambling magnate at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport early in the morning on Monday after landing from Haneda, Japan, was released on October 18th by Universal Entertainment Corp. The group confirmed that Mr. Okada and his group were arrested for alleged coercion when his close associates used physical force to take over the Okada Manila resort on May 31st, 2022 after the businessman was reinstated at the chairman’s role of the company operating the casino by the Philippine Supreme Court.
The warrants of arrest against Mr. Okada were issued by the Metropolitan Trial Court of Paranaque Branch 90 and 91 for the aforementioned charges of grave coercion linked to the forceful takeover of Okada Manila in May.
Status-Quo Ante Order Issued by PH Supreme Court Reinstated Okada in the Board
Kazuo Okada’s arrest on October 17th has been the latest move in the corporate dispute at Universal Entertainment Corp. – a pachinko-slot operator that saw the gambling tycoon ousted in 2017. It has also sparked quite a controversy and clash on who will manage the company’s casino in the Philippines.
As CasinoGamesPro reported, the beginning of September saw the country’s gambling regulatory body order Okada’s group to vacate the Okada Manila casino resort, giving back the control of the casino to Tiger Resort Asia, a subsidiary of Universal Entertainment. According to the company, the “status-quo ante” order (SQAO) that the Philippine top court previously issued, only directed parties to restore the order originating from before the removal of Mr. Okada, and did not provide him with the power to form a new board.
It was exactly the SQAO issued by the Supreme Court earlier in 2022 that allowed the Japanese gambling mogul to reclaim the Philippines-based casino resort alongside allies, including Dindo Espeleta and Antonio Cojuangco. Upon the takeover, Mr. Okada appointed his own board members, who, however, were booted out again in September, after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) intervened.
In his latest statement, the 80-year-old businessman, who is still in the Philippines, said that he will be able to prove that he is the rightful and beneficial owner of the Okada Manila casino resort. Kazuo Okada shared he was confident that he and his group of associates would be vindicated by the Philippine court system in all the legal cases that had been filed against them.
Currently, the Okada Manila casino resort is controlled by the board supported by Universal Entertainment Corporation (UEC). Kazuo Okada is still a board member but he does not back UEC.