FBI probe on PAGCOR bribery should jumpstart local investigations – solon

PARTY LIST Rep. Teddy Casiño today said that he hoped that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) probe into the alleged bribery of Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp. to former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) consultant Rodolfo Soriano would jumpstart local investigations.

Based on reports from the Las Vegas office of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, agents are in Manila working with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the local agency tasked to look into the payments as a potential bribery case, the sources said.

“As of now we have three investigations on the matter – two in the House of Representatives and one at the Department of Justice (DOJ). I just hope that we can get more results and at an earlier time. A whitewash or dillydallying would not do. The FBI’s presence should serve as a challenge for us to work faster and harder to get to the truth, no matter how who the backers of the past and current corrupt officials of Pagcor. This is an international issue and the US and Japanese authorities are already looking into the matter. We should be as serious as well in punishing corrupt officials,” said the solon.

“Amid numerous pieces of evidence of irregularities on the Entertainment City project, President Benigno Aquino III has not ordered the suspension of its provisional license and even condoned current Pagcor Chairperson Cristino Naguiat’s acceptance of free hotel accommodations and gifts from Kazuo Okada’s company,” Casiño added.

“Malacanang has already exonerated Naguiat from any wrong doing and said that accepting such favors is just ‘industry practice’. If that is so then what is preventing Rodolfo Soriano from saying the same? Is this just a matter of who are in power now?” the Makabayan senatorial bet asked.
In a lawsuit filed in a US court last February, US-based Wynn Resorts alleged that estranged business partner Kazuo Okada violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by lavishing more than $110,000 on Naguiat and other Philippine officials to ensure the Japanese’s plans for a Manila casino went ahead.

The suit alleged that Okada billeted Naguiat, his wife, three children, a nanny and other PAGCOR officials in Wynn Macau hotel rooms during a five day stay in 2010. The family allegedly stayed at the resort’s most expensive room worth $6,000 a night.

The report also said that Naguiat requested and received a Chanel designer bag worth more than $1,850 for his wife. Okada supposedly ordered that each of the guests be given a $5,000 advance for shopping during their stay in Macau.

“What needs to be done now is to suspend the Entertainment City project and relieve Naguiat because he may influence current investigations to favour Okada” said Casiño.

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