A statement issued on Tuesday on behalf of the operating unit for Philippine casino resort Okada Manila (pictured) said the firm’s “legitimate board members” were working to “achieve a swift resolution to the trespassing and illegal takeover” of the property that day, by individuals “representing Mr Kazuo Okada”.
“Please be assured that there is no change in the leadership and management of Universal Entertainment Corp, Tiger Resort Asia Ltd, or Tiger Resort, Entertainment and Leisure Inc [TRLEI],” added the statement issued in the name of the latter.
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. At that time, he was also ousted from the board of TRLEI.
The press release said that on Tuesday “the group of Mr Kazuo Okada, illegally and violently took over the premises of Okada Manila, employing brute force and intimidation to compel key legitimate officers to vacate the premises”.
GGRAsia has approached representatives from Mr Okada’s side, for comment on the allegations.
The statement in the name of TRLEI claimed that with the use of “brute force”, some of the company representatives had been removed from the property’s premises.
It added: “In the process, they also harmed and caused serious injuries against the other officers of the company, and their lawyers who were present.”
Mr Okada was in June 2017 ousted from Universal Entertainment’s board, accused of fraud. He denied the allegations. Since then, Mr Okada has been trying to regain control of Universal Entertainment, and its subsidiary TRLEI.
In early May this year, Mr Okada’s side said a recent Philippine court order would “restore the composition of the board of directors of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc to the composition it had in 2017, before the dispute between Universal Entertainment Corp and Kazuo Okada began”.
Shortly afterwards, Tiger Resort 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.”
‘Storming’ of Okada Manila
TRLEI’s Tuesday statement claimed: “Led by former board member Tonyboy Cojuangco, Dindo Espeleta, and lawyer Florencio Herrera III, the group of Mr Kazuo Okada came in” to Okada Manila, “with around 50 private guards and police officers of Paranaque City Police and a sheriff of the Regional Trial Court of Paranaque City, storming the building on the pretext that they were authorised by a court order, but refused to show to anyone a copy of any writ authorising their actions.”
The press release added: “There is nothing in the [Supreme Court] status quo ante order, which remotely authorises Mr Kazuo Okada to take over the premises of the corporation, much less with the use of force.”
Tiger Resort went on: “By using the status quo ante order to execute their illegal takeover, they have abused court processes, thereby making a mockery of the administration of justice.
“The status quo ante order is a temporary or provisional order, while the assigned division of the Supreme Court is still studying the case and has yet to decide on the merits of the case.”
The statement added: “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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