The Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL)-backed board is back in control of Okada Manila operator Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc (TRLEI), with Byron Yip reinstated as President and CEO, following an order from Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR, IAG has learned.
In the latest twist in the ongoing saga of Okada Manila’s ownership, PAGCOR on Friday issued the Kazuo Okada-led board of TRLEI with a “cease and desist” order and directed them to vacate the casino at Okada Manila in order to reinstate the previous board.
The reclamation of control by the TRAL-backed board comes three months after a group led by Kazuo Okada forcibly took control of Okada Manila in late May, which followed a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) issued by the Supreme Court demanding the board of TRLEI be restored to its composition in 2017, before the dispute between Universal and Mr Okada that led to him being frozen out.
According to local media reports, an opinion was this week issued by the Department of Justice (DoJ) secretary which appears to frown upon the actions of the Kazuo Okada faction in taking control of the property in late May.
In scenes starkly similar to those witnessed at Okada Manila in May, a group of around 50 people apparently representing the TRAL-backed board, all wearing red caps and white shirts, stormed the property on Friday accompanied by members of the Philippine National Police and PAGCOR representatives.
IAG understands the property was briefly locked down and guests required to stay in their rooms during the commotion, which saw the group clash with security.
A report by The Manila Times states that PAGCOR has ordered the Kazuo-Okada led faction to relinquish control of casino operations and to immediately stop dispersing funds from the casino cage. In an internal memo distributed to Okada Manila staff and seen by IAG, the TRAL-backed board is announced as being back in control with Byron Yip reinstated to his former role.
IAG has reached out to PAGCOR and to both the Kazuo Okada and the TRAL-backed boards of TRLEI for comment.