Casino magnate Kazuo Okada is on the verge of losing his bitter battle to regain control of the gaming business that he founded after a series of legal and business events have swung against him.
On the legal front, on January 25 a Tokyo court ruled that a thirty-year trust agreement between Okada’s son Tomohiro and daughter Hiromi, which gave Tomohiro effective control of the Universal Entertainment group of companies and led to the ouster of Kazuo Okada, is legally valid. Hiromi later tried to disown the trust agreement and reconciled with her father, but the validity of the trust agreement means that Tomohiro and the anti-Kazuo Okada company executives remain in control.
Hiromi, urged on by her father, is expected to appeal the Tokyo ruling, but unless a higher court overrules the verdict, the door will likely be shut to Kazuo Okada’s return to authority.
On the business front, the current management of Universal won a major victory when Tiger Resort Asia (part of their business group) was able to purchase a 2/3 stake in the holding firm Asiabest Group International. This move is expected to pave the way to a backdoor listing of the company on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Kazuo Okada asked the Philippine Stock Exchange to block the backdoor listing of Tiger Resort Asia, but it appears that he is on the verge of losing that battle as well.
Universal’s management moved quickly to take control of Asiabest, installing Kenji Sugiyama as the new president and Takako Okada, Kazuo’s estranged wife, as one of the new board members.
Finally, it remains the case that a court in Parañaque, the Philippines, has an outstanding arrest warrant for Kazuo Okada issued at the beginning of the year in connection with charges that he embezzled more than $3 million from his own company. Okada has so far evaded arrest.
Kazuo Okada originally lost control of the family firm in May 2017 amid the allegations that he had embezzled or misused company funds. Okada himself has steadfastly asserted his innocence and argued that he is the victim of a boardroom coup.
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