Kazuo Okada asks PSE to block Tiger Resort backdoor listing

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TYCOON Kazuo Okada wants the stock exchange to block the backdoor listing of Tiger Resort Asia Limited. — COMPANY HANDOUT

JAPANESE gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada asked the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to block the proposed listing of Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL), amid his ongoing battle for control of the local unit of Universal Entertainment Corp. (UEC).

“Mr. Okada respectfully requests the Exchange to disapprove the application filed or to be filed for the block sale, and to deny the Backdoor Listing of TRAL via ABG (Asiabest Group International, Inc.); or at the very least defer the same, until the relevant legal proceedings that determine Mr. Okada’s right to be reinstated to his positions in the Okada companies are finally resolved,” the tycoon’s counsel said in a letter to the PSE dated Jan. 11. Copies of the letter were sent to the media on Monday.

His lawyers, Salvador Paolo Panelo, Jr. and Kathleen Mativo, insisted Mr. Okada remains the beneficial owner of 67.6% of TRAL’s capital stock and that he was TRAL’s sole director until June 2017 when he was “illegally” removed.

Mr. Okada’s counsel said the backdoor listing and block sale were not approved by the Japanese tycoon.

“The Exchange should disapprove the application for the Block Sale and disallow the Backdoor Listing because there exists, at bare minimum, a serious issue as to whether Fujimoto et. al. are legitimate directors/officers of Tiger, and the rest of the Okada Companies, that can act for and on behalf of said Companies,” Mr. Okada’s counsel said, referring to UEC President Jun Fujimoto.

The lawyers said the issues surrounding control and ownership of the Okada companies should be first settled before allowing the block sale and backdoor listing “for the protection of the investing public.”

“The dispute should be contained, and not be allowed by the PSE to spill to the public,” the lawyers added.

TRAL is pursuing backdoor listing on the exchange through ABG by purchasing of up to 100 million common shares from minority shareholders valued at P3.2325 per piece. The offer period ran until Jan. 9, and was settled on Jan. 11.

Earlier this month, a Parañaque court ordered the arrest of Mr. Okada, after the Department of Justice recommended the filing of charges against the tycoon over three counts of fraud.

To recall, Mr. Okada also filed a case against TRAL and its local unit, Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI) which controls integrated resort and casino Okada Manila, for his supposedly illegal removal as director and shareholder in the two companies. The case, however, was dismissed by a Parañaque court last November 2018.

Prior to his removal from TRAL and TRLEI, Mr. Okada was also removed as chairman and director of UEC — the beneficial owner of TRAL — for allegedly fraudulent activities. — V.M.P.Galang