A press release filed on Tuesday on the website of the promoter of the Okada Manila casino resort says “the group of chairman Kazuo Okada is once again managing Okada Manila”. It added: “All operations remain business as usual.”
The announcement, headed with the logo of that Philippine casino resort, follows an opposing press release issued on Tuesday by the other group claiming control of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc (TRLEI), the operating unit of Okada Manila. That statement had said representatives of Japanese businessman Mr Okada (pictured in a file photo), had that day “illegally and violently” entered the property, and had used “brute force” to eject officials from TRLEI, in an alleged “abuse” of ongoing court processes involving the two sides.
GGRAsia has approached representatives from Mr Okada’s side for comment on those allegations.
Tuesday’s press release from Mr Okada’s camp said that, following a so-called status quo ante order in April by the Philippine Supreme Court: “On May 2, 2022, Mr Kazuo Okada reinstalled the board of directors and officers of TRLEI, which was recognised by Pagcor as the legitimate board and officers of TRLEI and consistent with the status quo ante order.”
That was a reference to the Philippine casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor).
Shortly after Mr Okada’s side publicised the court order in early May, a statement in the name of TRLEI had said: “The Philippine Supreme Court’s issuance of a status quo ante order, a temporary measure, does not change the ownership structure of TRLEI, nor will it impact our operations.”
The ultimate parent of TRLEI – according to filings to Jasdaq – is Japanese entertainment conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp.
Battle dating back to 2017
Mr Okada founded Universal Entertainment, but was ousted from it in June 2017, having been accused by its management of fraud. He denied the allegations. At that time, he was also ousted from the board of TRLEI.
Since then, Mr Okada has been trying to regain control of Universal Entertainment, and its subsidiary TRLEI, as well as of Tiger Resort Asia Ltd, a privately-held Hong Kong company that is the immediate parent of TRLEI. Tiger Resort Asia is a unit of Universal Entertainment.
The Tuesday press release from Mr Okada’s side, stated: “The personalities opposing the return of Mr Kazuo Okada, in response, have filed an urgent motion for reconsideration to ask the Supreme Court to revoke or reconsider its status quo order.”
That announcement added: “While awaiting action from the Supreme Court, representatives of Kazuo Okada, together with the sheriff, and witnessed by Pagcor, reinstated him as sole representative of Tiger Resort Asia Ltd, and chairman and chief executive of Okada Manila.”
The term “sheriff” is understood to be a reference to something mentioned in the earlier press release, which said an official of the Regional Trial Court of Paranaque City had been present on Tuesday when Mr Okada’s representatives entered Okada Manila.
Tuesday’s press release in the name of Mr Okada’s interests, added: “The board designated Mr Antonio Cojuangco as president and Mr Dindo Espeleta as vice chairman,” in what was understood to be a reference to TRLEI.
The opposing statement earlier on Tuesday had said: “Universal Entertainment, Tiger Resort Asia, and Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment are confident that the Philippine Supreme Court will eventually see the correctness of TRLEI’s position, rule in TRLEI’s favour, and recognise the Japanese courts’ decisions on the dispute between Japanese citizens over the control of the Japanese parent of TRLEI and its subsidiaries.”
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