Universal Entertainment Corp, the Japanese-based parent company of Okada Manila operator Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc (TRLEI) says it will file criminal charges against those involved in an “illegal and violent” takeover of the Philippines integrated resort on Tuesday, headed by company founder and former Chairman Kazuo Okada.
As reported by Inside Asian Gaming, the group – which included former board member Tonyboy Cojuangco, building contractor Dindo Espeleta and lawyer Florencio Herrera III – stormed the property late Tuesday accompanied by around 50 private guards and police officers of Paranaque City Police and a Sheriff of the Regional Trial Court of Paranaque City. It is alleged that they used “brute force against the legitimate officers of TRLEI”, kidnapped Universal director Hajime Tokuda and “harmed and caused serious injuries against the other officers of the company, and their lawyers who were present.”
In a Wednesday notice filed on its corporate website, Universal said it would file criminal charges for “such serious criminal offences as trespassing, obstruction of business, unlawful occupation, theft, assault, injury and incitement.”
It also stated that it does not recognize the authority of the Supreme Court of the Philippines over Okada Manila because Tiger Resort Asia Ltd (TRA), a company registered in Hong Kong, owns 99.9% of TRLEI’s voting rights. The court had recently issued a status quo ante order to TRLEI ordering restoration of the composition of the board of directors of TRLEI to its 2017 line-up, before the dispute that saw Kazuo Okada removed from the Universal Entertainment Corporation board began.
In addressing Kazuo Okada’s role, Universal said, “TRA dismissed Mr Okada from the Board of Directors in June 2017, which was also done in response to Mr Okada’s misappropriation of approximately JPY2 billion of the company’s and its subsidiaries’ funds, and a liability of damages lawsuit brought by the company against Mr Okada has already been confirmed.
“A [final decision on Mr Okada’s defeat] was made by the Japanese Supreme Court in September 2021. The Japanese Supreme Court has also ruled … that there was no defamation with regard to the defamation lawsuit brought by Mr Okada against the company and others.
“It should also be noted that Mr Okada is currently being sued by a law firm in Illinois, USA for damages of approximately JPY7 billion for non-payment of legal fees and another law firm in Hong Kong is also suing him for non-payment of fees.”