Okada no show at DOJ probe into anomalous casino project
MANILA, Philippines—Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada and his alleged dummies failed to appear before the Department of Justice Thursday to answer the criminal complaint filed against him regarding the multi-billion peso Entertainment City Project of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
During Thursday’s preliminary investigation, only lawyers from Eagle I Landholdings Inc., Eagle II Holdco Inc. and Tiger Resort Inc., the local firms of Okada’s Universal Entertainment Corporation appeared before the DOJ.
However, the counsels said they were not yet ready to respond to the allegations by the National Bureau of Investigation due to the voluminous documents that they still have to review.
They asked the DOJ investigating body led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Deana Perez to give them more time to respond. Perez gave them up to Nov. 7 to file their counter-affidavits.
But when asked if they also represent Okada in the case, they said no.
The DOJ was not able to send a subpoena to Okada because, according to Perez, his known address submitted by the NBI was in Japan to which they have no jurisdiction.
“Whether Mr. Okada appears or not, we will resolve the case against him based on the evidence at hand,” Perez said.
Only Tiger resort director Ken Taura appeared before the DOJ and subscribed to his counter-affidavit where he denied allegations against him and sought the dismissal of the complaint.
Another Tiger director, Tetsutaro Shibata, appeared before the DOJ panel but sought for an extension to answer the allegations against him.
The complaint from the fact-finding investigation of the NBI showed that Okada’s Universal Entertainment Corp. used three local firms – Eagle I Landholdings Inc., Eagle II Holdco Inc. and Tiger Resort Inc. – to circumvent the 40-percent limit on foreign ownership on businesses in the country under the laws.
Aside from Okada, included in the complaint for violation of the Anti-Dummy Law are eight other Japanese nationals: Tiger Resort chairman Hajime Tokuda; president Mitsuo Hida; and directors Ken Taura, Tetsutaro Shibata, Takeshi Nojima, Koki Seki, Masato Araki and Manabu Kawasaki.
Also named in the complaint are Eagle I director Rodolfo Soriano Jr.; Eagle II executives Hector de Leon Jr., Ramon Songco, Llewellyn Llanillo, Rene Soriano, Andres Sta. Maria, Roberto San Juan, Manuel Camacho and Paulo Bombase; Tiger Resort executives and officers Imelda Manguiat, Jose Ma. Hofilena, Carina Laforteza and Jan Abano; and Platinum Gaming and Entertainment Corp. officers Roberto Suson, Ma. Lourdes Go and Victor Emmanuel Caindic.
Three foreign affiliates of Universal – Molly investment Cooperative in the Netherlands, Aruze USA Inc. in the US and Hong-Kong based firm Future Fortune Ltd. – were also implicated in the anomaly, along with local firms Lex Development Corp., Ultralex Holdings Corp. and Platinum Gaming and Entertainment Corp.