Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Kazuo Okada (pictured in a file photo) has requested the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to block an operation paving the way for the backdoor listing of shares in the company that operates the Okada Manila casino resort, in the Philippine capital.
Okada Manila is run by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, an unlisted Philippine subsidiary of Tiger Resort Asia Ltd of Hong Kong, which is owned by Universal Entertainment Corp of Japan. Tiger Resort Asia is acquiring a majority stake in Philippine-listed Asiabest Group International Inc so that equity in the Okada Manila operator can be floated in Manila.
“Mr Okada respectfully requests the exchange to disapprove the application filed or to be filed for the block sale, and to deny the backdoor listing of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment via Asiabest Group; or at the very least defer the same, until the relevant legal proceedings that determine Mr Okada’s right to be reinstated to his positions in the [Universal Entertainment] companies are finally resolved,” lawyers for the entrepreneur stated in a letter sent on Friday to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
“The dispute should be contained, and not be allowed by the PSE to spill to the public,” Mr Okada’s side asserted in the letter, which was disclosed by several media outlets.
In 2017 Mr Okada was shunted from the board of Universal Entertainment and removed from the chairing role at Tiger Resorts, Leisure and Entertainment. He is currently taking legal action to ultimately regain control of Universal Entertainment.
The Japanese businessman has also filed a lawsuit in the Philippines against Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, seeking to nullify his removal as shareholder, director and officer of that company. Mr Okada reportedly claims to still control a stake of 67.6 percent in the firm.
In Friday’s letter, Mr Okada’s lawyers stated that “the backdoor listing is not authorised and is opposed by the casino magnate, the true and legal beneficial” controlling shareholder of Universal Entertainment and other subsidiaries of the conglomerate.
Mr Okada’s side argued in the letter that the current management of Universal Entertainment – headed by president Jun Fujimoto – had no authority to proceed with the backdoor listing.
The request by Mr Okada’s side to block the backdoor listing of Okada Manila came a week after a Paranaque City regional trial court ordered the arrest of the Japanese entrepreneur. In a resolution dated December 7, the Department of Justice of the Philippines had said it found cause to indict Mr Okada for three counts of swindling after he acquired “through mistake or fraud” US$3.15-million in salary and consultancy fees while he was heading Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment.
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”We expect it [the first phase of casino resort Hoiana in Vietnam] to open in October, and by then basically 90 percent of the first-phase content will be launched – such as the golf course, and hotels”
Andrew Lo Kai Bong
Executive director of project investor Suncity Group