High Court resolves Okada Manila ownership case

High Court resolves Okada Manila ownership case

A SUPREME COURT ruling lifted a previous court order that temporarily reinstated Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada as shareholder and chief executive officer of Okada Manila, effectively removing him from the leadership of the casino resort.

In a statement, Okada Manila confirmed that Mr. Okada “is no longer affiliated, associated, or in any way officially connected with Okada Manila.”

The High Court’s First Division dismissed in a resolution dated Nov. 13 Mr. Okada’s complaint on the legality of his removal from his leadership roles at the Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI), the owner and operator of Okada Manila, overturning a status quo ante order it issued on April 27, 2022.

“The Philippine Supreme Court has ruled that his [Mr. Okada’s] previous removal as a shareholder, director, Chairperson, and Chief Executive Officer of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. was lawful and valid,” said the casino resort management in a statement.

In his petition, Mr. Okada argued that his complaint was not an election contest but a challenge to his illegal removal as TRLEI’s shareholder, based on his claim of majority ownership of Okada Holdings Ltd. (OHL), the parent company of TRLEI.

The High Tribunal upheld the Court of Appeals and Parañaque City Regional Trial Court (RTC) rulings, affirming that the dispute was an election contest. The RTC dismissed his complaint on the grounds of prescription for having been filed more than a year after the 15-day prescriptive period.

Moreover, the Supreme Court affirmed that Mr. Okada held only one nominal share in TRLEI, a status that was revoked in 2017. The resolution stated that despite his assertions, he does not qualify as the controlling stockholder of OHL, the ultimate parent company of TRLEI. The findings are supported by the foreign judgments from Japanese and Hong Kong courts, acknowledged and deemed final within the Philippines.

“[T]he existence and authenticity of the foreign judgments and its translations have been duly proved as stated in the CA Report,” the court said. “As such, the foreign judgments may now be considered by this Court as presumptive evidence.” — Jomel R. Paguian