Pagcor orders TRLEI to vacate Okada – The Manila Times

(UPDATE) THE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has ordered the officers of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI) to vacate the gaming premises of Okada Manila.
Pagcor issued a cease and desist order (CDO) in accordance with the opinion handed down by the Department of Justice (DoJ) dated September 1 which confirmed the gaming regulator's power and authority to act on the appeal of Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. (TRAL), mother company of TRLEI, which owns 99.9 percent of TRLEI, to regain control of the casino-hotel's board.
However, the board of directors of Pagcor said in its resolution dated September 2 that it shall continue to comply with the status quo ante order (SQAO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC) last April 27 and shall only recognize Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada as stockholder, director, chairman and CEO of TRLEI.
The current TRLEI board is led by Filipino businessman Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco and Dindo Espeleta.
Pagcor Chairman Alejandro Tengco made clear that they no longer recognize Espeleta as the authorized representative of TRLEI unless he shows a document that overturns the SQAO and DoJ opinion.
Pagcor directed the current board to cease from discharging their functions in connection with casino operations.
The Cojuangco-led board was also ordered to cease from further disbursing funds in Okada Manila cage “unless they are able to present a valid authority” in accordance with the SQAO.
Pagcor also ordered Okada Manila management to allow nominees of TRAL access to the Okada Manila premises and assume the operation and management of TRLEI.
In its opinion, the Justice department said as a licensee, TRLEI falls under the jurisdiction of Pagcor just like all corporations are under the regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The DoJ said the nomination and election of TRLEI directors have to be approved in writing by Pagcor and any violation could be grounds for the revocation or suspension of its license.
It said Pagcor has the power to issue a CDO to prevent imminent fraud or injury to the public.
“Pagcor would be remiss in its duties as casino regulator; it would do nothing to address the alarming reports submitted by TRAL on the grand issues or theft of casino funds thereby placing the casino on the verge of disastrous bankruptcy. This will have a serious impact on the gaming industry to the detriment of the public,” the DoJ said.
The Justice department opined that the SQAO, which was used by Kazuo as a basis to replace the old TRLEI board members, merely required the return of Kazuo as a stockholder, director, chairman and CEO, the posts he held before he was kicked out in 2017 for corruption issues.
The DoJ said the SQAO issued by the Supreme Court did not empower Kazuo to form a new TRLEI board and make himself the sole representative of TRAL.
It ruled that Kazuo group's actions exceeded and violated the explicit wording of the SQAO, noting that members of the usurping board do not have TRLEI shares and are not qualified to sit as directors.
The DoJ pointed out that the Supreme Court itself refused to act on Kazuo's petition to restore him as the sole representative of TRAL in TRLEI.
On Friday, more than 50 people posing as employees of Okada Manila and Pagcor stormed the casino hotel to implement the gaming authority's CDO purportedly upon the instructions of TRAL.
A scuffle ensued when security personnel of Okada Manila barricaded the basement parking which leads to the entrance of
the casino hotel resort.
Those who tried to enter the offices of Okada Manila wore white shirts and red caps and were led by James Lorenzana, a former member of the ousted TRLEI board and TRAL legal counsel Carlos Ocampo.
Their attempt was, however, thwarted by security personnel of Okada Manila.
Ocampo said the current board of directors of TRLEI “should vacate” the premises of Okada Manila and be “replaced by the legitimate board and representatives of TRAL, who are the major shareholders.”
“We are just following the orders of Pagcor and the legitimate board will assume control and operations of management once we enter the building, but we are not being allowed to enter,” Ocampo said.


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