The parent company of Okada Manila in the Philippines has filed a lawsuit against its founder and former chairman and CEO Kazuo Okada.
The 79-year-old led a takeover of Okada Manila’s operations on May 31. With an order in hand from the Philippines Supreme Court directing Okada Manila’s management firm, Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI), to restore its boardroom to include Okada, the forcible takeover resulted in the billionaire assuming control of the $2.4 billion integrated resort.
The Philippines Department of Justice and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) later said the Status Quo Ante Order did not justify Okada’s actions. The casino was returned to TRLEI earlier this month.
But the damage has been done, TRLEI contends in a criminal complaint filed against Kazuo and his group.
Lawsuit Levies Criminal Allegations
TRLEI is controlled by Okada’s adult-aged children Tomohiro and Hiromi Okada. They led their father’s 2017 ousting of TRLEI and its parent organizations Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL) and Universal Entertainment amid allegations that he was stealing corporate funds for his own personal use, much of which the board claimed was spent on art.
Now, TRLEI is accusing Okada of further criminal conduct stemming from his summer takeover of Okada Manila. TRAL owns 99.9% of TRLEI’s publicly traded shares.
As a result of Kazuo Okada’s criminal acts, the operations of TRLEI and Okada Manila have been unjustly paralyzed, and consequently TRAL has suffered significant and irreparable loss,” the complaint asserts.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that Okada possibly deceived the Philippines Supreme Court by allegedly misrepresenting his control and ownership position in TRLEI prior to his 2017 forced exit and subsequent arrest.
TRAL says its court filing is only the first of what will be multiple lawsuits against Kazuo Okada and his associates. Company officials believe Kazuo’s team withdrew cash directly from the casino cashier cage in order to pay overhead and its management team.
“While we put in order the management and operations of Okada Manila, we are conducting an investigation on the illegal cash withdrawals from the casino cage, the unfair treatment and illegal dismissal of our staff, as well as the overpayments to contractors. We will submit these as further evidence to the Hong Kong Police and use these to file criminal and civil lawsuits in Hong Kong,” a TRAL statement explained.
Kazuo Remains on Board
TRLEI restored Kazuo to its boardroom as ordered by the Supreme Court, but the company says his future with the company will be dependent on the outcomes of the pending litigation against him. Tiger Resort says no one from Okada’s team is allowed to enter Okada Manila other than the billionaire and his interpreter.
Okada was invited to participate in TRLEI’s board meeting held last week at the casino. The emergency gathering was to restore order and normalcy to the resort. Those goals were executed, the firm said.
“The meeting was peacefully conducted,” explained Okada Manila CFO Hans Van der Sande. “It was a successful exercise of our administrative and operational management to bring the business back into the normal course of operations.”
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