Philippines: Japanese gaming tycoon Okada arrested for alleged coercion

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Kazuo Okada, a Japanese gaming tycoon, was detained by Philippines police for a short period for coercion relating to his Manila casino owned by Universal Entertainment Corp.

Okada was detained as soon as he arrived in the Philippines, but was released soon after on bail. Okada and his associates are accused of coercion. According to reports he and his associates allegedly physically took over the Okada Manila resort on May 31 following the Philippines Supreme Court decision to reinstate him as the chairman of Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment, the Philippines arm of Universal Entertainment Corp.

Jun Kitazawa, deputy manager of investment information at Miki Securities Co., said, “His arrest provided optimism that this chaos will come to an end soon, casino operation will return to normal, and the company’s earnings will recover, Physical occupation of the casino by Okada and his associates was creating uncertainty for investors.”

The Japanese tycoon was removed after a corporate dispute at pachinko-slot operator Universal Entertainment in 2017 on suspicions of misappropriation of funds. Astro del Castillo, managing director at First Grade Finance said, “The arrest shows Universal Entertainment is in control for now but this tussle is far from over. The ownership dispute should be a red flag for investors but some are looking beyond that because the casino is profitable.”

The departure of Okada sparked a dispute about who will manage Universal’s casino “Okada Manila” which is an integrated resort. Universal Entertainment said, “The Manila court ordered Okada to hear charges against him in a trial later this month,” in their official statement.

Okada, who is still in the Philippines, said that he will prove that he’s the rightful and beneficial owner of Okada Manila quoting, “I am confident that the legal process within the Philippine courts system will vindicate us in all the cases filed against me and my business associates.”