TIGER Resort Asia Ltd. (TRAL) has reinstated its board members in Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), operator of Okada Manila, effectively regaining control of the integrated resort and casino.
Tiger Resort has retaken control of Okada Manila after the group of Filipino businessman Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco, who was appointed as Okada Manila president by Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada last June, and the Kazuo-constituted board were ordered by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to stop operating the casino hotel.
Pagcor based its ruling on the opinion by the Department of Justice (DoJ) dated September 1.
TRAL, which owns 99.9 percent of TRLEI, said the management and operations of Okada Manila were turned over “peacefully” to its board led by TRLEI President Byron Yip “despite the minor and brief scuffle.”
Kazuo will stay on the board while the issue over the Supreme Court status quo ante order (SQAO), which temporarily reinstated him as a stockholder, director, chairman and CEO of TRLEI, is being resolved.
Kazuo was ousted from the board in 2017 on allegations of fund mismanagement.
“His fate will be decided by the Supreme Court once the Court of Appeals submits its findings to the said Tribunal pursuant to an earlier Resolution it issued,” TRAL Director Kenshi Asano said in a statement sent to The Manila Times on Monday.
“TRAL will remain focused on resolving the matter with finality, believing “a favorable outcome will help the Philippines regain the trust of international investors,” Asano said.
“We believe that the order from Pagcor affirms our position in the intra-corporate dispute in Okada Manila. It is consistent with both the letter and spirit of the SQAO of the Supreme Court. We are hopeful that both the high tribunal and the Court of Appeals will agree and this issue can be put to rest very soon,” he added.
The group of Kazuo maintained that the Pagcor order to reinstate the old board of TRLEI was a “brazen attempt” to defy the SQAO.
In a separate statement, the Kazuo camp said Pagcor Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco intervened in the intra-company dispute at Okada Manila, despite knowing that the ownership issue has yet to be decided with finality.
It further noted that the Pagcor board “expeditiously” came up with a cease-and-desist order (CDO) that is based merely on the opinion of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.
The Kazuo group pointed out that the Supreme Court resolution dated August 10 clearly affirmed that “pending the reception of evidence and submission of the report and recommendation by the CA, the status quo ante order subsists.”
The Supreme Court directed the CA to “conduct continuous hearings on the reception of evidence and recommendations” on the issuance of the SQAO.
The Kazuo group said that “Pagcor's role is merely to validate who is fit to hold a board position in Okada Manila and not to appoint any specific individuals to positions in the company.”
“Pagcor's swift action circumvented all manner of legal process which includes the issuance of memos and the relevant information to the Kazuo Okada led management team first before the actual serving of the CDO and the physical removal of the Okada led management from the company premises,” it added.
Kazuo vowed to sustain the gains of Okada Manila following his reinstatement and to “not accept an opinion that is not supported and promulgated by the proper courts.”
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