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Grave Coercion Action Against Okada Proceeds in Philippines Court

A Philippines Metropolitan Trial Court judge has rejected the plea by Kazuo Okada, the Japanese billionaire and founder of the Okada Manila Casino Resort, to dismiss serious coercion allegations.

The case against Okada and his group advances in court.

The Metropolitan Trial Court is proceeding with the lawsuit brought by Okada Manila Casino Resort operator Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc (TRLEI). On October 18, the court denied Okada's plea to dismiss the grave coercion charges.

According to the resolution made by the honourable judge Placido O. Garcia III, "The information, in this case, is sufficient as regards both the offense charged and the alleged circumstance of conspiracy amongst the accused in committing the offense charged."

TRLEI has filed a complaint against Okada and the members of his group, Antonio "Tonyboy" Cojuangco, Dindo Espeleta, and attorney Florentino "Binky" Herrera, who violently seized control of the Okada Manila Casino Resort on May 31, 2022.

According to Philippine law, the case includes and adequately justifies all three elements of grave coercion.

Following the legal proceedings, the Philippine National Police apprehended Kazuo Okada at the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport on October 24 as he came from Japan.

The preliminary hearings on the case of grave coercion are scheduled for October 28.

The Acquisition of the Okada Manila Casino Resort by Okada and Subsequent Developments

At the end of May, Okada and his party entered the Okada Manila Casino Resort with the assistance of 50 guards and police and the backing of a status quo ante order (SQAO) issued by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. According to their reading of the SQAO, the 2017 composition of the TRLEI board of directors has to be reinstalled.

Effectively, the actual TRLEI board was expelled from the property, and Okada and his group declared themselves to be TRLEI board members.

Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL), which owns 99% of TRLEI, subsequently filed a clarification motion opposing Okada and his group's violent takeover.

Following the events of May 31, the legal owner of TRAL, Universal Entertainment Corp (UEC), filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the Philippines to reverse the SQAO.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) eventually intervened and issued an order to Okada and his associates to return the Okada Manila Casino Resort to its legitimate owner, TRAL.

Consequently, TRAL recovered control of the resort in the beginning of September, and the dismissed board of directors was reinstated.



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