The Philippines Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a resolution indicting Kazuo Okada and his representatives in relation to complaints filed recently by members of the Tiger Resort Asia (TRA)-backed board of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc (TRLEI), the latter said this week.
According to information provided by the TRA-backed board – which regained control of integrated resort Okada Manila from the Kazuo Okada group last month following intervention from PAGCOR – the DOJ has recommended the filing of grave coercion charges against the group, which includes Kazuo Okada, Tonyboy Cojuangco, Dindo Espeleta and Florentino “Binky” Herrera III.
These relate to a forced takeover of Okada Manila on 31 May in response to a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) issued by the Supreme Court of the Philippines ordering the TRLEI board be returned to its status of five years ago, before Mr Okada was removed due to allegations of fraud. Mr Okada’s group retained control of the property for three months before the TRA-backed board returned the favor with a takeover of its own on 2 September.
“We are grateful that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has started the ball rolling in advancing justice for the victims of the brutal takeover in May,” said TRLEI director, CFO and Treasurer.
“We will continue to work with our lawyers and exhaust all legal means to win this case against the Kazuo Group.”
According to the DOJ’s resolution, the Kazuo Okada group “exceeded and/or went beyond what the SQAO has simply allowed. Ineluctably, respondents Kazuo, Cojuangco, Espeleta and Herrera are deemed to have taken the law into their hands. [T]hey precipitously went ahead of their unlawful plan to take control and possession of Okada Manila in the guise of implementing the SQAO, which contains no specifications on what respondents can only do by virtue thereof.”
The DOJ added that the Kazuo Group “illegally magnified the simple and general directive of the Supreme Court to maintain order in the business affairs and operations of Okada Manila.
“Overdoing a given authority is tantamount to taking advantage of, if not deemed a licentious action, as a means to attain an end goal. Respondents should act within the confines of the law and not resort to the commission of a felony.”
The returned board, which froze the company’s bank accounts during the Kazuo Okada group’s occupation, has since accused the group of taking funds directly from the casino cage.
“We are now working on cleaning the mess that the Kazuo Group left – from stolen funds, fraudulent transactions, and illegally fired employees, to stolen documents and ransacked records – and are now beefing up the business for growth,” Van Der Sande said.
“We are hopeful that the intra-corporate dispute will soon be settled with the honorable courts seeing the correctness of our position.”