PHILIPPINES: The board of the Philippines’ largest casino has announced that it is suing Kazuo Okada, a Japanese businessman, and his accomplices for coercion and other wrongdoings in the casino’s “violent and unlawful” takeover.
Okada’s camp has taken physical possession of the Okada Manila casino since May 31 with the help of private security guards and local police.
The decision came after the Philippines’ Supreme Court issued a “status quo ante decree” in April, reinstating Okada as the casino’s CEO after he was sacked in 2017. In January, Okada and a coworker were found not guilty of embezzlement by the country’s Court of Appeals.
The ousted board of Tiger Resorts appealed the Supreme Court’s decision in April, and its legal counsel argued on Monday that nothing in the court’s decision allowed Okada’s team to take physical control of the company or form a new board. It is also seeking clarification from the Supreme Court on its ruling.
According to a news conference, Michiaki Satate, co-vice chairman of the defunct Tiger Resort board, Okada’s company took over the resort on using brute force and intimidation.
Okada, his associates Antonio Cojuangco and Dindo Espeleta, and the private security guard business they hired are named as defendants in the complaint.
They are accused of kidnapping Universal director Hajime Tokuda from the casino grounds and transporting him to a location near his house, according to the ousted board. In claims ranging from coercion to unjust vexation, they are also accused of injuring other corporate officers.
The claims against Okada and his company, according to Vincent Lim, a spokesperson for Okada Manila’s current administration, are pure fiction and have no legal validity.
There was no violence during the takeover, and more Supreme Court verdicts could persuade the competing group to drop their allegations, according to Lim.
Officials from the Philippine Gambling Control Commission were present to witness the takeover. However, because the case is still pending in court, the regulator indicated that it wanted to emphasize its neutrality in the situation.
Okada is the largest of four multibillion-dollar casino-resorts in the Philippines’ capital, which has one of Asia’s most loosely regulated gaming industries.