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TIGER Resort Asia Ltd. (TRAL) hailed the Philippine Supreme Court for its swift action on the urgent plea of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI) to direct the group of Kazuo Okada to refrain from exercising management and board functions and surrender the physical possession of Okada Manila.

In a resolution dated June 13, a copy of which was received by TRLEI’s legal counsel Divina Law on June 17, the SC ordered Kazuo Okada to reply and comment to the Extremely Urgent Manifestation with Motion for Clarification Ad Cautelam submitted by TRLEI on June 9.

The Kazuo Group, which forcefully took over the physical premises of Okada Manila has five days to respond to the SC’s resolution.

“We laud the honorable Supreme Court for treating this matter urgently and acting swiftly on the motion filed. The violent and forceful takeover of Okada Manila as well as the election of an illegally constituted board to manage it is a perversion of the High Court’s order and has only brought confusion and uncertainty to the future of Okada Manila, an over US$3 billion investment in the Philippines,” Divina Law Senior Partner Atty. Estrella Elamparo said.

It will be recalled that Kazuo Okada and his partners led by former TRLEI board member Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco, former officer Dindo Espeleta, and their legal counsel Herrera, Teehankee, and Cabrera Law Office stormed Okada Manila on May 31, to compel TRLEI officers to yield control over Okada Manila.

The Kazuo Group used as basis a status quo ante order (SQAO) issued by the Philippine Supreme Court. However, Okada, according to TRAL, does not have the right, nor the legal basis to do so—even with the SQAO. The status quo ante refers to the state of affairs that existed prior to Kazuo’s removal as shareholder, Director, and Chairman.

Kazuo Okada was removed from TRLEI in 2017 by UEC and TRAL for alleged acts of misconduct. The Japanese Supreme Court has since ruled with finality that the ultimate parent company, Okada Holdings Ltd., is majority owned and controlled by Tomohiro Okada, and not Kazuo Okada.

The SQAO neither authorized nor empowered Kazuo Okada, more so his cohorts, to install a new Board of Directors or officers, the TRLEI camp has insisted. This formed the basis of TRLEI’s motion for clarification, as submitted to the SC.

In the midst of the developments with the SC, the Kazuo Group allegedly authorized billions of pesos in questionable payments to certain entities.

This comes on the heels of the bank freeze of Okada Manila’s accounts and what the other camp predicts would be its impending inability to honor its financial commitments, including its employees’ salaries.

Three local banks, namely BDO, AUB, and Union Bank, have already decided to freeze the bank accounts of Okada Manila following the takeover, Elamparo earlier reported.

“The legitimate board of TRLEI and officers of TRAL and UEC are wary that Okada Manila will not be able to meet its financial obligations and commitments to employees, contractors, and suppliers because of the frozen accounts. More so, this puts to question how Okada Manila will survive—more so thrive—without funds for operating expenses, wasting precious opportunity with the gradual reopening of the economy. The SC’s swift action is all the more commendable given the urgency of this situation,” Elamparo concluded.