Okada group says Manila casino project ‘on schedule’

Rappler.com
A legal dispute with property firm Century Properties is not affecting the progress of the construction, according to the group

Photo shows the artist's rendition of the Okada group's Manila Bay Resorts in the Entertainment City in Manila

MANILA, Philippines – The group of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada said Wednesday, April 2 it is on track to open its $2-billion casino complex in the Entertainment City by the third quarter of next year, as targeted, despite a legal dispute with Jose Antonio-led Century Properties Group Inc. (CPG).

In a statement, Okada’s Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc. said it did not violate any laws when it terminated its investment agreement with CPG. It stressed it has no financial transaction with the property firm.

“In connection with the issue on the allegations of Century Properties Group, we regret that the development turned out the way it did. We wish to say that there have been no financial transactions with CPG and the Okada group,” Tiger Resorts said.

“As we have mentioned previously, the investment agreement with CPG was executed by 3 parties. Unfortunately, one of the 3 withdrew from the agreement. Hence, we have no recourse but to stop the negotiations with CPG,” it added.

Tiger Resorts said the construction of the project is going according to schedule.

“We project mass hiring of operational staff during our planned opening in the 3rd quarter of 2015. We project employment will reach 15,000 both for direct and indirect employees, once our project is finish,” Tiger Resorts said.

CPG on Tuesday sought legal protection to stop the Okada group from terminating their investment agreement for the $2-billion Manila Bay Resorts casino complex.

It filed a petition before the Makati Regional Trial Court for interim measures of protection against Eagle I Landholdings Inc., Eagle II Holdco Inc., and Brontia Limited, collectively known as the Okada group. Eagle I owns the 30-hectare property on which the casino complex would be built. Tiger Resorts owns Eagle I.

The investment agreement would have given CPG and the other supposed partner, First Paramount Holdings 888 Inc., stakes in Eagle I. The agreement also covered a 5-hectare luxury residential and commercial development by CPG in the casino complex.

First Paramount however backed out from the deal, prompting the Okada group to terminate the agreement.

Okada’s Tiger Resorts holds one of 4 licenses handed out by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) for casino complexes worth at least $1 billion each in Entertainment City.

Other franchises are held by the tieup of Australian billionaire James packer and Macau gambling tycoon Lawrence Ho with Henry Sy-led Belle Corporation; and the firms of billionaires Enrique Razon Jr. and Andrew Tan.

Okada was roiled in controversy when he was sued by his former US partner Steve Wynn for alleged bribery of Pagcor officials in his pursuit of a Manila casino license. – Rappler.com

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