Okada Manila in the Philippines’ Entertainment City is reportedly amid a coup led by the casino resort’s namesake founder who was ousted from its governance a half-decade ago.
Less than a year after the $2.4 billion integrated resort opened in December 2016, the parent organization of Okada Manila — Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI) — forced billionaire Kazuo Okada out from the corporation amid numerous allegations. The TRLEI board accused its founder of stealing $2 million in cash from the business and issuing himself $97 million in loans on 0% interest without board approval.
The money, the board alleged, was largely used to purchase artworks for Okada’s private collection. Okada has maintained that he was wrongly removed from his company board amid a corporate coup. Now, it’s Okada doing the overthrowing, company officials claim.
The Philippines Supreme Court last month ordered TRLEI to restore its board makeup to its 2017 composition with Okada at the helm. The Okada Manila owner is appealing the high court’s decision by way of an “Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.”
Tiger Resort company officials say Okada and his associates are not allowing the legal process to play out. Instead, the company alleges that the Japanese billionaire forcibly took over the Manila casino today, May 31.
“Led by former board member Tonyboy Cojuangco, Dindo Espeleta, and lawyer Florencio Herrera III, the group of Mr. Kazuo Okada came in 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 authorized by a court order, but refused to show to anyone a copy of any writ authorizing their actions,” a TRLEI statement explained.
There is nothing in the [Supreme Court] status quo ante order that remotely authorizes Mr. Kazuo Okada to take over the premises of the corporation, much less with the use of force,” the company release continued. “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.”
The takeover, however, has so far not disrupted guest-facing casino and resort operations.
There are currently two boards claiming governance over Okada Manila. TRLEI released a statement saying it’s working to “achieve a swift resolution to the trespassing and illegal takeover” levied by Okada and his associates. The Okada-led group has not commented publicly.
Okada Manila’s social media appears as if it’s business as usual at the casino property. The resort today posted about an upcoming music festival set to be hosted at Okada Manila next month. The casino also debuted a new marketing campaign encouraging travelers to come to the resort to “begin new stories.”
The advertising is targeting Filipinos in wake of the pandemic. The casino is calling such pent-up demand “revenge travel.”
“In all of us is the innate desire to explore the world and experience new things. Okada Manila is the perfect getaway for those who wish to have fun and begin great stories anew,” the casino’s website advertises.
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