All departments at Philippine casino resort Okada Manila “are functioning at full capacity”, since control of the property was returned to Tiger Resort Asia Ltd last week, said the company’s legal counsel Carlos Ocampo in an interview with local media outlet ABS-CBN on Wednesday.
The management and operations of Okada Manila were turned over on September to the board backed by Tiger Resort Asia, its parent Universal Entertainment Corp said in a Sunday statement. Universal Entertainment has been battling since late May with its ousted founder Kazuo Okada for control of the casino property.
On May 31, representatives of Mr Okada physically occupied the Okada Manila complex, with his side mentioning a Supreme Court order from late April that had restored the board of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc (TRLEI) to how it was before his ousting from TRLEI in 2017.
Tiger Resort Asia is a privately-held Hong Kong firm that is the immediate parent of TRLEI, with the ultimate parent being Universal Entertainment, a Japanese conglomerate Mr Okada founded, but from which he was ousted in 2017.
In the interview with ABS-CBN, Mr Ocampo called the reinstatement of the TRLEI board on September 2 “a return to normalcy”.
“They [the reinstated TRLEI board] are in full control of the operations and management of the company. And as a matter of fact, all departments are functioning at full capacity,” Mr Ocampo stated.
A resolution from the country’s casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), said Mr Okada would be recognised in compliance with the Philippine Supreme Court order in April that reinstated the businessman as stockholder, director, chairman and chief executive of TRLEI.
Other people reinstated since May as board members by Mr Okada’s side were ordered by Pagcor to “cease and desist from discharging their functions in connection with Okada Manila’s casino operations”.
Mr Ocampo told the media outlet that Tiger Resort Asia has no plan to remove Mr Okada from the newly reinstated board.
“My client has no such plans to remove Kazuo [Okada]. They remain committed to honour the status quo ante order issued by the Supreme Court,” said Mr Ocampo.
The Tiger Resort Asia legal counsel also said that the intra-corporate dispute had a negative impact on Okada Manila’s performance.
“The top line, I would characterise it as satisfactory. Of course, with all distractions, I’m sure it could have been better. But as far as the bottom line is concerned, it will take some time to review the books because we don’t know what kind of expenses were incurred [by the former TRLEI board],” said Mr Ocampo.
He also said that the contracts and commitments made by the board backed by Mr Okada’s side would be looked into. “Any acts entered into by that group [of Mr Okada] are not valid. However, having said that, we will on an ad hoc basis, look at each and every contract to see what could be done; but I cannot make any commitments at this stage,” Mr Ocampo said.
Universal Entertainment said earlier this week that it would assess the financial impact of the past three months of operations, a period during which the property was controlled by the group linked to Mr Okada. It also accused Mr Okada’s representatives of “wrongfully” seizing assets and “destroying” key documents, including business contracts.
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