JAPANESE GAMING tycoon Kazuo Okada reiterated his request for the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to investigate Asiabest Group International, Inc. (ABG) for its allegedly misleading disclosures on its share purchase agreement with Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. (Tiger Asia).
In a letter to the PSE on Sept. 21, Mr. Okada’s party claimed that ABG’s comprehensive corporate disclosures were “suspect and outright evasive,” stressing that ABG should include the pending intra-corporate lawsuit he filed against Tiger Asia in a bid to protect his interests in the company.
Mr. Okada filed the intra-corporate suit against Tiger Asia, its unit Tiger Resort, Leisure, and Entertainment, Inc., and their respective directors and officers at Regional Trial Court Branch 258 in Parañaque City last Aug. 29. He sought to nullify his supposedly illegal removal as a shareholder and director of TRLEI, which operates the integrated resort and casino Okada Manila in Entertainment City.
“Listed firms, like ABG, are mandated to fully disclose the details surrounding share purchase transactions,” according to Mr. Okada’s lawyers, Ramon S. Esguerra, Carlos Paulo M. Villaruz and Vivian S. Tan-Dela Cruz.
Mr. Okada’s representatives had earlier asked the PSE for ABG to inform the public about the complaint against Tiger Asia. In reply, ABG disclosed on Sept. 19 that it could not submit details on the ongoing case as it might violate the sub judice rule.
“ABG cannot submit a disclosure on the foregoing case that may appropriately apprise the investing public of the same without transgressing the rule on sub judice which restricts any person, including the PSE, to comment and disclose matters pertaining to the judicial proceedings in order to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice,” ABG said.
Mr. Okada’s lawyers however noted that ABG cannot invoke the sub judice rule as the company itself is not involved in the case, and therefore is not covered by the rule.
They further noted that details about Mr. Okada’s ownership bid must be disclosed since these are material information that will have an effect on the market value of ABG’s securities.
“Considering that the very validity of the transaction between Tiger Asia and ABG may be questioned, if not annulled, the pending case should have been disclosed especially in ABG’s Comprehensive Corporate Disclosure on Backdoor Listing and Change in Control Issuer Disclosure both dated Sept. 20,” Mr. Okada’s lawyers said.
Mr. Okada’s complaint followed Tiger Asia’s plan to purchase P646.5 million worth of shares in ABG to potentially list the company at the stock exchange.
BusinessWorld asked PSE officials for their comment on Mr. Okada’s request, but they have yet to reply as of press time. — Arra B. Francia