Okada ‘in deeper trouble’

THE Universal Entertainment Corp. (UEC) of Japan on Monday said it will help Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in the investigation and prosecution of Kazuo Okada who was arrested last week on charges of conspiracy to defraud in the former British colony.

UEC is Japan’s leading manufacturer of pachinko, slot machines, arcade games and other gaming products, and a publisher of video games, and has subsidiaries in the US and the Philippines. Okada was its chairman of the board until June 29 last year. Okada Manila owner, Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI) is a subsidiary of UEC in the Philippines.

“We will render our full support and assistance to the ICAC and other law enforcement authorities should the situation require,” Universal told the Tokyo stock exchange on August 6.

In a disclosure, UEC said: “Upon our inquiries with the Hong Kong ICAC, it is given to understand that Mr. Okada has been arrested by the ICAC in relation to various corruption-related offenses.”

“Mr. Okada is currently released subject to bail conditions imposed on him by the ICAC,” it added.

The arrest was earlier reported by Hong Kong’s Headline Daily and Chinese online publications.

Reports said Okada was taken in along with a certain Li Jian for alleged conspiracy to defraud the Hong Kong-registered family company Okada Holdings of 135 million yuan ($19.7M). Li Jian, reportedly a director of New Games Corp., allegedly received one million yuan from Okada, according to the same report.

ICAC investigates corruption cases in Hong Kong committed by public officials. Crimes by private individuals where corruption of a public official is involved also falls within the jurisdiction of ICAC.

Okada, erstwhile top honcho of posh Okada Manila owner —TRLEI, is facing separate cases of estafa in the Philippines for allegedly embezzling more than $10 million in company funds. The complaints, filed by majority shareholders of TRLEI, are pending with the Department of Justice.

TRLEI has been asking the DOJ to set aside earlier resolutions issued by Paranaque City Prosecutor Amerhassan Paudac which had been leaked and its pertinent portions found their way into social media.

TRLEI said the leakage, along with the wrongful disposition and resolution of the cases, indicated the prosecutor’s undue interest in the cases and which did not only violate due process but constituted grave administrative offenses.

“The leakage not only violated pertinent laws on public officers but also seriously damaged the credibility, independence, and integrity of the assailed resolutions as well as of the Office of the City Prosecutor,” TRLEI said.

The controversy prompted Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to order the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe into the circumstances of the leakage of the two Paudac resolutions. The DOJ has since assumed jurisdiction of the investigation of the estafa cases.

In one estafa case, TRLEI accused Okada of illegal disbursement of company funds amounting to $3.1 million supposedly for his consultancy fees and salaries during his one-month tenure as CEO through his accomplice Takahiro Usui, then TRLEI president.