Authorities indict Kazuo Okada and three others for grave coercion

Kazuo Okada temporarily took control of Okada Manila at the end of May.
Kazuo Okada temporarily took control of Okada Manila at the end of May.

Kazuo Okada and three others have been indicted in connection with the takeover of the Okada Manila casino hotel on May 31.

The Philippines.- It’s emerged that a Department of Justice (DOJ) panel has indicted Kazuo Okada and three other people for grave coercion after their seizure of control of the Okada Manila casino hotel on May 31. Those accused alongside Okada are business partners Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco, Dindo Espeleta and Florentino “Binky” Herrera III.

They are accused of taking over the integrated resort facilities by force. A group led by former board member Cojuangco arrived at the venue on May 31 with about 50 private guards and police officers who claimed they were authorised by a court order to take over the Okada Manila complex.

In April, the Supreme Court of the Philippines had issued a status quo ante order (SQAO) that recognised Kazuo Okada as the sole representative of Tiger Resort Asia Limited in Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment and ordered his reinstatement as a shareholder, director, chairman and CEO. 

However, the DOJ says the accused “went beyond what the SQAO has simply permitted” when they compelled the complainants to leave.

A resolution dated August 25 reads: “The fact that respondents Cojuangco, Espeleta and Herrera arrived at Okada Manila with a large number of security officers, law enforcers and a sheriff, caused complainants to be greatly intimidated and unable to resist orders from the respondents. 

“The overpowering number of security and law enforcers has made complainants’ resistance futile. This show of force is equivalent to such intimidation that equates to coercion.”

Although Okada was not present during the takeover, he was included by DOJ prosecutors in the indictment because “the incident happened with his prior knowledge, assent or imprimatur.”

However, the DOJ, has dismissed a complaint against Kazuo’s group for slight physical injuries. State prosecutors also determined that there was insufficient evidence to recommend charges against for kidnapping, serious illegal detention and direct assault.

In September, Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL) retook control of Okada Manila’s casino resort. Kazuo Okada remains recognised on the board for now in view of the SQAO which temporarily restored him to his position. However, he did not attend the board’s first meeting.

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