The battling boards of Okada Manila in the Philippine capital continue to scrap over access to casino funds.
The ousted board of Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. (TRAL), overthrown when the country’s Supreme Court reinstated the Kazuo Okada-backed board, is calling for an inspection following reports that the new operators are making unauthorized withdrawals of corporate funds, primarily from the casino cage.
According to Inside Asian Gaming, the TRAL-backed board claims the new staff have been dispersing money directly from the cage since its bank accounts were frozen.
In May, a group representing Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada, for whom the Entertainment City resort is named, seized control of the operation, citing a status quo ante order (SQAO) issued by the high court restoring the 2017 board of directors of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), before Okada was expelled from the company he founded under parent Universal Entertainment Corp. (UEC).
In a statement, the TRAL-backed board, which holds 99.9 percent of shares in TRLEI, said it has ordered the inspection of payments and transfers of funds made since the takeover and payments to any company linked to Okada or his associates Antonio Cojuangco and Dindo Espeleta.
It has also asked for the release of management reports from June to July, a list of all rehired employees, lists of all new supply and construction contracts, planned payments for August, new bank accounts opened, changes in IT systems, and the records of deleted CCTV camera footage.
“You are hereby reminded that the inspection of corporate documents is a matter of right on the part of a shareholder and are further sternly warned that denial of such right constitutes a crime under the Revised Corporation Code,” their letter read.
The TRAL-backed board also claimed that the Kazuo Okada group has been “intimidating and easing out loyal employees” who have questioned the group’s use of the casino cage “to fund the payment of the board’s salaries.”
Jun Fujimoto, CEO and representative director of UEC, said, “We have invested heavily to build and operate Okada Manila, the largest integrated casino resort in Asia, and we are certainly not going to allow it to go to waste. We are confident that the Philippine Supreme Court will agree with the correctness of our case and resolve this intra-corporate dispute once and for all.”
In related news, Kazuo Okada has accused UEC of manipulating his son Tomohiro to cause dissension in the family and take control of Okada Manila. Tomohiro sides with the ousted board and has condemned his father’s actions in forcibly taking control of the IR.
Okada insists his son has been “misled by an employee at UEC” and that this employee had “allegedly manipulated to take over control of UEC and split the Okada family resulting in Kazuo Okada’s ouster as chairman and president of UEC and as chairman of Okada Manila.”
“I have visited my son’s home many times and sent him letters but my efforts have all been in vain,” Okada said. “I believe that the family bond will remain unchanged even if we are unfortunately separated from each other for a time. I sincerely believe that my son is only being seduced by a malicious third party and that he does not mean what he says.
“As a matter of principle, UEC and Okada Manila are business entities that have grown over the past 50 years under my vision and leadership, with the cooperation of various people. This is the unquestionable truth, no matter who you ask,” he said.