Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada was a no-show at the Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI) board meeting this week.
TRLEI, a subsidiary of Universal Entertainment Corporation, is the immediate parent company of Okada Manila. Two entities, TRLEI and a group led by Kazuo, claim to be the rightful management firm of the $2.4 billion integrated resort in Manila’s Entertainment City.
Kazuo seized control of his namesake casino property, which he opened in late 2016, earlier this year after the Philippines Supreme Court ordered TRLEI to restore its board configuration to its 2017 arrangement. Kazuo says he was wrongly ousted from Universal and TRLEI a half-decade ago through a coup led by his own adult-aged children.
Okada’s children maintain that their father was stealing money from the companies. His son Tomohiro Okada alleges that his father has used the firms “as his personal piggy bank.”
Kazuo Absent at TRLEI Gathering
TRLEI sought legal recourse to the Okada Manila takeover committed by its founder. The Philippines Justice Department later told the company that the Supreme Court order instructing the firm to hand Kazuo back his board seat did not warrant the billionaire assuming full control of the casino.
Assisted by the National Police and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), TRLEI retook governance of the integrated resort last weekend. But Justice Department officials warned the casino operator that the Supreme Court ruling requires that Kazuo’s board seat be maintained and that he be invited to any corporate meeting.
One such meeting occurred on Wednesday, September 7. But TRLEI says Kazuo didn’t show up in what would have been the first face-to-face meeting between reps of the two sides claiming to be the rightful operator of Okada Manila since the intra-corporate dispute began in late May.
Kazuo Okada, who is temporarily recognized as stockholder, chief executive officer, and chairman, was invited to the meeting. His invitation is in respect to the Supreme Court’s Status Quo Ante Order and the Philippine Gaming and Amusements Corp.’s order last week,” a TRLEI statement explained.
“Only Kazuo Okada and his interpreter are allowed to enter Okada Manila,” the company release continued. “Tonyboy Cojuangco, Dindo Espeleta, and other members of the ousted illegally-constituted board are barred from entering the property.
“Okada, however, did not join the board meeting in person or via video conference,” the investor release concluded.
Resumption of Normal Business
TRLEI says its Wednesday board meeting was to restore order to Okada Manila.
“The meeting was peacefully conducted,” said Hans Van der Sande, TRLEI’s CFO and board director. “It was a successful exercise of our administrative and operational management to bring the business back into the normal course of operations.”
Kazuo’s future with the organization is unclear. A Philippines court of appeals this week denied his urgent motion to suspend PACGOR’s order that Okada Manila be returned to TRLEI.
“The Court of Appeals’ resolution dated September 7, 2022, effectively allows the reinstated legitimate board to continue exercising operational and management control of Okada Manila,” the Universal statement concluded.
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