Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada, the founder of Okada Manila, has finally issued a statement regarding the ongoing dispute over the casino resort, which he took control over together with Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco and Dindo Espeleta on May 31.
Kazuo Okada’s Statement
In his statement, directed toward the staff of the Okada Manila casino resort, Okada recounts the events of May 31. He points out that his actions were backed by a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) issued by the Supreme Court, which reinstates him as the director, chairman, and CEO of Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL) and the company’s only representative. Okada informs that he has appointed Dindo Espeleta and Antonio Cojuangco as vice chairman and president of Okada Manila respectively in order for them to represent him until he returns to the Philippines.
Okada also expressly stresses that there was no violence involved during the takeover of the resort and that this will be proved by the security cameras at the casino. He challenges the accusations of the TRLEI board chairman, Hajime Tokuda, who has declared that the takeover was a “violent invasion” and that he was manhandled and forcefully thrown out of the venue. In his message, Okada also states that he will be starting legal proceedings against Tokuda’s actions, which have hindered the implementation of the Supreme Court’s SQAO.
In his message, Okada further denied allegations spread online that he has bribed employees in order to win their favor.
Legal Dispute Filed by TRLEI
Okada’s takeover of Okada Manila has been opposed by TRLEI’s board as illegitimate, pointing out that the Supreme Court SQAO has been interpreted falsely and that in fact the order does not give any representative rights to Kazuo Okada or allow him to make any changes to the company’s board. TRLEI on its part has filed a lawsuit against Okada. In its motion for clarification, the company has highlighted that Okada and his representatives have made a considerable payment of PHP 2 billion ($36.6 million) to Transasia Construction Development Corp. (TCDC), a company, which is led by Dindo Espeleta, when in fact the company owes money to TRLEI.
The Okada takeover has been further opposed by the founder and CEO of Springowl Asset Management, Jason Ader, who was preparing a merger between 26 Capital and TRLEI, aiming to list the company in the United States. Because of the Okada Manila casino resort developments, the merger deal has been postponed to September 30, 2022.