Posted: September 4, 2022, 12:53 PM.
Last updated: September 4, 2022, 12:54 PM.
Okada Manila’s governance has been returned to Universal Entertainment Corporation after being led by 79-year-old Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada for about three months.
A scuffle breaks out in Okada Manila between two parties, each claiming to be the rightful operators of the casino resort in the Philippines. The Kazuo Okada group has since been removed from the premises, but the billionaire will retain his board position. (Image: ABS-CBN News)
The offices of the integrated casino resort in the Philippines in Manila’s Entertainment City were raided on May 31 by a Kazuo-led group. The event took place after the Philippine Supreme Court ruled in favor of Okada Manila’s direct parent company – Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI) – had ordered the board to be reinstated to the 2017 arrangement when Okada was director and chairman.
TRLEI forcibly removed Okada from the organization that oversees his eponymous casino in 2017 amid allegations that he used company money for his own personal use, allegations the billionaire has repeatedly denied. Okada has been trying to regain control of TRLEI and its parent company Universal Entertainment ever since.
Okada says TRLEI’s actions in 2017 were the work of his adult children with whom he no longer has a relationship. His children are the largest shareholders of Universal and TRLEI.
Government restores order
The deposed TRLEI leadership said the Supreme Court’s Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) did not grant Okada the right to bring in its own company officials to run Okada Manila.
The Philippine Department of Justice, in response to TRLEI for clarification on its rights, said that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) should decide the lawful management company of the $2.4 billion casino complex. The Justice Department’s opinion explained that the Supreme Court order only meant TRLEI Kazuo had to return his 2017 positions within the company.
We believe that the status quo ante order of the Supreme Court only allows the return of Mr. Okada as shareholder, director, chairman and CEO of TRLEI. It did not give him the authority to meet again or form a new board of directors,” Justice Minister Jesus Remulla said in her opinion.
PAGCOR acted hastily to order through a resolution the Kazuo group out of Okada’s premises in Manila and put TRLEI’s executive and management team back into their offices before June 1.
A statement from Universal Entertainment said the board swap was “generally peaceful”. The Philippine National Police assisted PAGCOR in enforcing the order.
PAGCOR has ordered Dindo Espeleta, Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco, Maximo Modesto Joel Flores, Tetsuya Yokota and Hiroshi Kawamura to “discontinue their functions in connection with Okada Manila’s casino business.” TRLEI then sent key executives back to their positions.
Possible Crime Detected
The restored administration of Okada Manila says there were alleged observations of possible criminal activity while serving the PAGCOR injunction to the Kazuo faction.
“Despite last-minute attempts by the illegally appointed board to sabotage the transition by shutting down most of the property’s elevators for several hours, including those for the customers, Okada Manila’s management and operations were transferred to the board under led by TRLEI President Byron Yip and have been completely under their control since Friday. There is also CCTV video footage of the Kazuo group shredding documents in hotel room 866, which was used as an executive office, and employee Gilbert Giazon removing boxes of documents from the property,” the Universal statement disputes.
Universal concluded by saying that Kazuo Okada will remain a board member in view of the SQAO. But the company added that his future at Universal will be decided once a lawsuit against him from the company for his alleged theft is established.
This post Operations Okada Manila back to Universal Entertainment
was original published at “https://www.casino.org/news/okada-manila-operations-returned-to-universal-entertainment/”