Okada faces major setback in bid to regain control of Philippines gaming business
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - July 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Embattled Japanese pachinko king Kazuo Okada has faced a major setback in his bid to regain control of his gaming empire here in the Philippines and Japan.

This after a Tokyo High Court ruling recently threw out Okada’s bid to nullify a lower court’s decision that upheld an agreement between children Hiromi and Tomohiro, which paved the way for his ouster in his companies.

Okada’s children earlier agreed to oust him in the board of Hong Kong-based Okada Holdings, which holds the majority shares of Tokyo-listed Universal Entertainment Corp. (UEC).

This move was upheld by a Tokyo High Court despite Okada’s appeal.

In a 12-page ruling, the Tokyo High Court dismissed Okada’s motion seeking to nullify a district court decision that upheld the validity of the trust agreement between his children.

Under the Trust Agreement, Okada’s daughter Hiromi assigned her voting rights to her brother Tomohiro, and even sold her shares in the Hong Kong-based Okada Holdings.

Tomohiro, with a combined 53 percent voting rights in Okada Holdings, booted out their father from both the Universal Entertainment Corp. (UEC) and Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI).

UEC, a publicly-listed company in Japan, owns 99.99 percent of TRLEI, the Philippine firm that owns and operates the posh Okada Manila Resort in Parañaque.

The Tokyo High Court held that there was no legal basis to reverse the earlier decision of the district court against Hiromi.

“For the reasons above, the original judgment is reasonable and this appeal is groundless. Accordingly, this court renders its judgment… to dismiss this appeal,” the High Court said.

It upheld a January decision of a Tokyo district which court ruled in favor of Tomohiro by throwing out the petition filed by Hiromi questioning the validity of the trust agreement of the siblings in the hope of reinstalling Okada to the corporate boards of UEC and TRLEI.

Hiromi challenged the district court decision before Tokyo’s High Court. By dismissing Hiromi’s appeal, the Tokyo High Court affirmed the validity of the trust agreement executed between Tomohiro and Hiromi.

Last year, Okada also filed a civil intra-corporate case in a Philippine court seeking to be reinstalled as a director of Okada Manila. But the court dismissed the case.

TRLEI pointed out that Kazuo Okada’s suit had no legal basis, with Okada owning no shares of TRLEI and therefore having no right to vote himself into the company’s board of directors.

Despite the legal battle, it’s business as usual for Okada Manila Resort which posted a $46-million income in the first half.

Revenue grew by 26 percent to P3.2 billion in June compared to P2.5 billion a year ago.

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