Okada boardroom battle reaches DOJ | Inquirer Business

Okada boardroom battle reaches DOJ

The deposed board of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), operator of Okada Manila, sued the camp of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada for kidnapping after the latter's “hostile takeover” of the casino hotel last week. STORY: Okada boardroom battle reaches DOJ

File photo of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada.

MANILA, Philippines — The heated boardroom battle over control and management of Okada Manila went up another notch after the group of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI) filed kidnapping and other criminal charges against gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada and businessman Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday.

Okada et al. were accused by their rival group of committing various criminal offenses when they allegedly “stormed” and forcibly took physical possession of the upscale integrated casino-hotel complex in Paranaque City on May 31.


Last week’s tension-filled takeover of Okada Manila by the group of Cojuangco and Okada was the latest incident in the years-long legal battle for the ownership of one of the biggest gambling establishments in the country.


Besides the business partners, named respondents were Dindo Espeleta, Maximo Modesto Josel Flores, Tetsuya Yokota, Hiroshi Kawamura and Florentino Herrera III.

Also charged were Jose Nicolas and dozen other security personnel of A9 Security and Investigative Services Inc.

In three separate complaints, Japanese nationals Hajime Tokuda and Michiaki Satate, and Jaime Lorenzana, members of the board of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc., said Okada’s group violated their rights when they physically evicted them from their offices at Okada Manila.

Tiger Resort

Tokuda said he and the other officers of Tiger Resort, the casino resort’s operator, were holding an emergency shareholders’ meeting with their lawyers when a group of security personnel hired by Okada’s group went inside Okada Manila’s Golden Ballroom and grabbed him.

“I was gripped by terror and fear of what was about to transpire,” Tokuda said in his 28-page complaint-affidavit.

“Without any regard for basic human decency or respect for elderly, a group of no less than five security personnel forcibly dragged me out of the Golden Ballroom,” he said.


The whole incident, he said, was caught on video, a copy of which was submitted to the DOJ as evidence.

The Japanese national said he was then taken to a waiting car driven by Derick Mangupit. Two other men, security personnel Lordgene Navarro and Mark Tambis, who formerly worked for Tokuda’s family, also boarded the vehicle, he added.

“I felt really scared and anxious thinking that I would be brought in a far and secluded area by people whom I have shown kindness to in the past,” Tokuda said.

“It is at this point that I appealed to their hearts and begged them to bring me home,” he said.

He said he was eventually taken to his house by the three men, who “even apologized to my daughter as they admitted that they were only compelled by the orders of the ‘top management,’” referring to Okada’s group.

The complainants insisted that Okada had no authority to seize the leadership of the multibillion-dollar gaming company since he only had one nominal share in Tiger Resort.

Satate said Okada “deceived” the Supreme Court that he was a majority shareholder of Okada Holdings Ltd. (OHL), Tiger Resort’s parent company, in filing a petition that challenged his removal as Tiger Resort’s director and chairman of the board in 2017.

He said Okada’s alleged false claim became the basis of the high court’s April 27 resolution that granted Okada’s petition for the issuance of a status quo ante order (SQAO).

“There is absolutely no truth to (Okada’s) claim that he supposedly owns OHL,” Satate said, citing the company’s official financial documents.

Satate also argued that the high court’s order did not authorize Okada to be reinstated as the sole representative of Tiger Resort Asia Ltd., a Hong Kong-based company that owned 99 percent of Tiger Resort.

“Clearly, even after the issuance of the SQAO, (Okada) had absolutely no authority still to take control of (Tiger Resort), much less to take over the premises of Okada Manila,” he insisted.

In a separate 21-page affidavit, Lorenzana said Okada’s group committed grave coercion when they prevented them from holding a meeting with Tiger Resort’s shareholders and lawyers.

“Clearly, respondents took the law into their hands, without regard to law and due process, just so they could swiftly takeover the premises of Okada Manila and usurp the board of directors and officers of (Tiger Resort),” Lorenzana said.

Okada’s wife Takako herself said in a voice recording played during a press briefing yesterday that the gambling tycoon had no buisiness taking control of the sprawling entertainment and gaming complex last week.

Takako is the director of Tiger Resorts Asia Ltd. (TRA), the parent firm of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI) that operates Okada Manila. Japan-listed Universal Entertainment Corp., meanwhile, owns TRA.

“We at [TRA] never recognized the group of Mr. Tonyboy Cojuangco and we condemn violent acts that happened in Okada Manila last Tuesday, May 31, 2022,” she said.

In addition, TRA has only certified Takako, along with Kenshi Asano, as its nominees who have the voting shares.

The Okada/Cojuangco group has no comment yet about the recent developments.

“It is unfortunate that the group of Tonyboy Cojuangco could not have responded in a lawful and peaceful manner, instead of using force like this,” Takako said.

For now, the deposed board has not been allowed to return to the Okada Manila premises. Satate said they have no idea with the current operations of the casino-hotel, which has been recently regaining momentum with the reopening of the economy.

“We know that a number of employees were fired, terminated for no valid reasons. We are really unclear on what they are doing and how it is being operated,” he said.

He is not also confident with the board that took over as “the sham board has no experience in running such a place.”

The banks, he said, were monitoring the developments with the Okada crisis as well.

“The banks are monitoring this issue. And of course, they will also have their legal opinions. We are waiting for their final judgment also on how they will handle this situation from there,” he said.


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PH, Japan courts rule vs Kazuo Okada

TAGS: Antonio Cojuangco, Department of Justice, Kasuo Okada, Okada Manila

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