The Court of Appeals in the Philippines has denied a petition filed by representatives of Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada to regain control of the board of Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment Inc (TRLEI). The latter is the entity directly overseeing the Okada Manila casino resort in the Philippine capital.
The court decided to deny a petition for a temporary restraining order to stop the country’s gaming regulator – the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) – and Tiger Resorts Asia Ltd (TRAL) from changing the composition of TRLEI’s board. The court cited “lack of authority” for its ruling.
The resolution was issued on Wednesday, according to local media reports.
The decision came less than a week after Japan-based conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp said it had taken over the operations of the Okada Manila complex. The step followed an order from the country’s gaming regulator that returned control of the property to TRAL, according to a Sunday statement.
Universal Entertainment has been battling since late May with its ousted founder Kazuo Okada for control of Okada Manila.
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 TRLEI to how it was before Mr Okada’s ousting from TRLEI in 2017.
TRLA 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 also ousted in 2017.
In August, the Supreme Court had declined either to overturn the “status quo ante order” regarding the board of TRLEI or specifically to rule against the way Mr Okada’s side had interpreted the order as permission for physical takeover. Instead, the court said the merits of the arguments put by opposing sides in the matter would be referred to the country’s Court of Appeals. That body had to, within 30 days of receiving the resolution from the Supreme Court, report back on the matter.
The Supreme Court directed the Court of Appeals to “receive evidence” on matters involving TRLEI, including its financial condition and plans for a listing of its operations.
‘Cease and desist’ order for Pagcor, TRLA
In the most recent plea, Mr Okada’s side was asking the Court of Appeals to stop Pagcor and TRAL “from performing any and all acts that would displace” the Kazuo Okada-appointed board or “disturb” the status quo ante order previously issued by the Supreme Court.
The latest decision by the Court of Appeals however stated that “Pagcor and TRAL, their agents, representatives and all persons acting on their behalf are ordered to immediately cease and desist from performing any and all acts that interfere with, impede and obstruct the proceedings before us, such as but not limited to allowing TRAL and/or its representatives to inspect the corporate records of TRLEI”
According to the court, such corporate records include “documents involving TRLEl’s alleged intention to list Okada Manila International (OMI) in the United States” and “papers showing TRLEl’s purported plan to transfer its casino business permit to OMI”.
The court ruling added: “Pagcor and TRAL are further ordered to account for the documents, such as but not limited to corporate records, general information sheets, audited financial statements and other relevant papers which came into their possession as a result of the incidents in Okada Manila on September 2, 2022.”
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”This new venture [with PH Resorts] is aligned with our strategy to increase our footprint in the Philippines, given our remarkable success with Okada Manila”
President and COO of the operator of Okada Manila