Tycoon asserts ownership of firms behind Okada Manila

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Kazuo Okada

EMBATTLED Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada maintains that he is still the rightful owner of the companies behind Okada Manila, despite a Tokyo ruling affirming the validity of a trust agreement that led to his ouster in the companies.

In a statement issued Thursday, Mr. Okada’s lawyers said the tycoon’s daughter Hiromi plans to appeal the Tokyo decision in the complaint filed against them by brother Tomohiro.

A Tokyo District Court in a decision last Jan. 25 confirmed the validity of a 30-year trust agreement between Hiromi and Tomohiro that gave the latter majority control of Okada Holdings Limited (OHL).

OHL owns 67.9% of Universal Entertainment Corp. (UEC), a Japanese listed firm that owns Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL). In turn, TRAL owns Tiger Resort, Leisure, and Entertainment, Inc., the local unit which owns and operates Okada Manila located along the state-run Entertainment City in Parañaque.

The trust agreement was what led to Mr. Okada’s removal from the management of OHL, as well as from his directorship in TRAL and TRLEI.

Mr. Okada’s lawyers noted that the decision is not yet final and can be appealed.

“Until the decision becomes final, the fight is not yet over and Kazuo Okada remains in control of Universal Entertainment Corporation (UEC) as 99 percent owner of Okada Holdings Limited,” Mr. Okada’s party said in a statement.

Mr. Okada’s lawyers said that Hiromi testified against Tomohiro during the Tokyo case, claiming that he took advantage of her weak emotional state to get her to sign the share agreements concerning OHL.

Hiromi added that her brother failed to explain the contents of the documents, contrary to his claims.

“On that day (March 2, 2017), I was going overseas again the following day, so I was really tired. There was no explanation. In a few minutes I signed them and it was over,” Mr. Okada’s lawyers quoted Hiromi as saying.

Aside from the case in Tokyo, Mr. Okada and his daughter had also filed civil and criminal proceedings in Hong Kong to regain control of OHL. The tycoon also wants to secure fraud and financial crimes against those responsible for this allegedly illegal removal as the director of OHL, UEC, and TRAL in 2017.

Mr. Okada further criticized TRLEI’s plan to change Okada Manila’s name without his consent. The plan to change Okada Manila’s name comes after the company completed its acquisition of 66.67% of listed shell firm Asiabest Group International, Inc., paving the way for its backdoor entry to the stock exchange.

“As the rightful owner of Okada Holdings, how can they not consult him on matters regarding his company and his property…He was not consulted at all in that transaction and he will file cases against those responsible for the backdoor listing,” Mr. Okada’s lawyers said. — Arra B. Francia