Legal counsel representing the board backed by Okada Manila’s majority owner Tiger Resort Asia Ltd (TRAL) says the Philippines integrated resort has had its bank accounts frozen amid an ongoing battle for control.
According to a press statement issued late Sunday, BDO Unibank (BDO), Asia United Bank (AUB) and Union Bank of the Philippines have opted to freeze the accounts of Okada Manila due to the ongoing intra-corporate dispute between TRAL and a group representing the company’s founder, Kazuo Okada. Mr Okada was removed from the board of Okada Manila operator Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc (TRLEI) – which is 99.9% owned by TRAL – and of parent company Universal Entertainment Corp in 2017 due to allegations of fraud.
Atty Estrella Elamparo, who represents the TRAL-backed board, said BDO had required both parties to sign an agreement to disburse the salaries of the employees of Okada Manila but that the Kazuo Okada-led faction had refused to sign any agreement bearing the signature of director Hajime Tokuda.
“Despite being on the right side of the law, the legitimate board of TRLEI decided to draft and sign the agreement, understanding that the welfare of the employees is at stake,” said Elamparo.
“However, the camp of Kazuo Okada was not keen on signing the agreement, imposing unreasonable conditions.”
Sunday’s statement suggested the Kazuo Okada group, which forcibly took control of Okada Manila late last month, may choose to use “cage money” or revenues generated from the operations of the casino and hotel to fund the operations and the salaries of Okada Manila’s employees, but said these funds would “run dry soon.”
“The winds of change that will blow at Okada Manila [reek] of disaster and misfortune,” Elamparo said.
“After their violent and illegal takeover, Okada Manila has no access to its bank accounts. We expect Okada Manila’s funds to dwindle in the coming weeks, putting not only guests at the losing end, but at the same time putting at risk its over 5,000 employees, many of whom rely on their salaries to meet their daily needs.
“No bank will engage with an entity under an ownership dispute. Once Okada Manila’s funds start to run dry, they will have problems dealing with the operations of the integrated casino resort.”
The takeover of Okada Manila came after the Supreme Court of the Philippines issued a status quo ante order (SQAO) in April requiring the TRLEI board be returned to its status of five years ago, before Kazuo Okada was removed.