By James A. Loyola
Japanese gaming mogul Kazuo Okada was unconditionally released by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
Okada’s lawyers said in a statement that this dealt Universal Entertainment Corporation and Okada Manila a big legal setback. Okada founded the two firms before he was booted out of the companies due to alleged corruption.
According to well-renowned veteran and Cambridge-educated barrister Cheng Huan SC, legal counsel of Okada in Hong Kong, they went to the ICAC office last February 22, 2019.
On the same day, Cheng, who is the Queen’s Counsel as he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, said Okada was given his unconditional release and returned the bail that he posted.
Also, Cheng said Okada will not be required by ICAC to report to the anti-corruption agency.
Okada’s local lawyers believe ICAC’s decision to unconditionally release Okada was a big blow to Okada Manila and UEC as this weakens their accusation against the casino magnate.
Earlier, Okada’s camp denied that the casino magnate was arrested by ICAC, saying he was merely interviewed and was required to post bail until he was cleared to leave Hong Kong.
Okada is focused on his legal battle to regain control of his company, Okada Holdings Inc. (OHL).
As 99-percent owner of OHL, Okada maintains that he holds 68 percent ownership of Universal Entertainment Corporation (UEC), the parent company of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI), the operator of Okada Manila.
Kazuo Okada and his daughter, Hiromi, had filed civil and criminal proceedings in Hong Kong to regain control of OHL.
They also want to secure criminal convictions for fraud and financial crimes those responsible for the casino magnate’s illegal ouster as Sole Director and/or Chairman of Okada Holdings, UEC, Tiger Resort and OHL in 2017.
Among those charged by the Okadas include Jun Fujimoto, current President and CEO of UEC.