Japanese pachinko firm Universal Entertainment Corp is being hounded with allegations of bribing a former consultant of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and might lose their license if proven true.
PAGCOR, which regulates gambling in the Philippines, has read the reports from Reuters that Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc, a subsidiary of Universal paid Rodolfo Soriano Jr, a former consultant during the previous administration in 2010, $5 million to win the bidding for a casino license to operate in a $2 billion casino and hotel complex in Manila. Soriano is in fact facing charges of plunder together with PAGCOR’s chairman at that time, Efraim Genuino. They are accused of misappropriating at least $4.5 million worth of funds during their term. This is part of the current administration’s drive to “clean up” the culture of corruption that has hounded the country, particularly in government agencies like PAGCOR.
The Philippine government is taking these allegations seriously and has asked the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation to look closely into the case and coordinate with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation to verify if they are true. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that if the allegations are proven true, they will act quickly on the matter, but emphasizes that due process shall be strictly followed.
Universal Entertainment, which is chaired by Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada, is a major investor in the Philippines. This is probably the reason why they are giving them a “chance to address all the issues affecting their provisional license”.
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