Kazuo Okada Asks Philippine Stock Exchange to Block Manila Casino Owner’s Listing

The next chapter of the endless Kazuo Okada versus Universal Entertainment Corp saga involves the embattled Japanese tycoon trying to block the listing of the gaming giant’s Philippine arm on the local bourse

Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada is seeking to prevent the proposed listing of Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. on the Philippine Stock Exchange, arguing that parent company Universal does not have authority to proceed with that plan, Reuters reports.

Mr. Okada, who founded Universal, a major pachinko and other gaming equipment manufacturer, in the 1960s, has been engaged in a long and complex legal conflict with the company, its owner, and its affiliates for nearly two years now.

He was ousted as Chairman of Universal in the summer of 2017 and was accused of misappropriating millions of dollars during the time he was at the company’s helm. Mr. Okada has repeatedly denied those allegations and has been trying to regain control of the gaming giant and of its owner, Okada Holdings.

News emerged last year that Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. would acquire a majority stake in the Manila-listed Asiabest Group International Inc. to pave the way for its backdoor listing. Tiger Resort Asia is the owner of the $2.4-billion Okada Manila integrated resort.

Letter to the Stock Exchange

In a letter to the Philippine Stock Exchange dated January 11, Mr. Okada’s legal team said that “the backdoor listing is not authorized and is opposed by the casino magnate”, who is the true owner of controlling shares, and Chairman and Sole Director of Tiger Resort Asia and all Okada companies.

The letter went on that there was “a serious issue as to whether Fujimoto et. al. are legitimate directors/officers of Tiger”. Mr. Okada’s lawyers referred to Universal Entertainment’s President Jun Fujimoto.

Earlier this month, the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 257 issued an arrest order for Mr. Okada. The order was related to a legal battle between the businessman and Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, one of Universal Entertainment’s Philippine subsidiaries. Tiger Resort sued Mr. Okada for improperly obtaining more than $3 million.

The casino tycoon dismissed those allegations, saying that he received the contested amount as salaries and fees for consultancy services during the time he was serving as CEO and Director of the company. Mr. Okada was ousted from his roles at Tiger Resort in the summer of 2017.

Last month, the Philippine Department of Justice issued a statement, in which it said that the businessman acquired the amount “through mistake or fraud” and that he should be charged on three counts of fraud.

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