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Fact-finding report on alleged $5M Okada bribe to be in soon—DOJ

MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is expecting the submission within this month of a report on the allegations that a former consultant of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation  (Pagcor) got a $5-million bribe from Japanese investor Kazuo Okada for favors related to the government’s entertainment city project.

De Lima said the three-member fact-finding body she tasked to look into the controversy seven months ago has been wrapping up its investigation. She said she has already granted its members two or three extensions.

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“I actually gave (the fact-finding body) those extensions (on their deadline) because I saw the members were having difficulties accessing…prospective witnesses,” she told reporters.

The team talked to local and foreign witnesses, she said.

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The justice secretary said she held a case conference with the three-man panel about three or four weeks ago where she set June as the “final deadline.”

De Lima ordered the investigation in November last year upon the request of Pagcor chairman Cristino Naguiat.

Naguiat was acting on news reports coming out of a Las Vegas boardroom battle that mentioned that Rodolfo Soriano, a former Pagcor consultant and a known associate of former Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Efraim Genuino, was given $5 million in May 2010 by a Hong Kong affiliate of Universal Entertainment Corp., a company owned and controlled by Kazuo Okada, an investor in Pagcor’s Entertainment City project.

The panel formed by De Lima includes two investigators from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and a prosecutor from the National Prosecution Service (NPS) of the DOJ.

De Lima ordered the panel to “conduct a thorough and in-depth investigation into possible graft and corrupt acts or other irregularities that may have attended the transactions between Pagcor and Universal, including Aruze USA and Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment (Tiger Resorts).”

De Lima wanted the panel to particularly look into allegations that sometime in May 2010 “a series of questionable payments were made by Aruze USA to then officials, employees or consultants of Pagcor, supposedly in relation to the issuance by the former management of Pagcor of a casino license in favor of Tiger Resorts and other transactions that may be related to, or may have had or shall have an effect on the entertainment city project.”

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TAGS: Bribery, casino, crime, Department of Justice, gambling, graft and corruption, Kazuo Okada, law and justice, Leila de Lima, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Philippines
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