De Lima extends probe of alleged Pagcor payoff
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Sunday said she had given a three-member fact-finding panel one more month to wrap up its investigation into allegations a former consultant of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) received a $5-million bribe from Japanese investor Kazuo Okada.
In a text message to reporters, De Lima said panel members had sought the extension.
“They need more time… I’m giving them another month,” she said.
De Lima ordered the investigation in November on the request of Pagcor Chairman Cristino Naguiat who asked the Department of Justice to look into reports Rodolfo Soriano, a former Pagcor consultant and a known associate of former Pagcor Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Efraim Genuino, received $5 million (roughly P225 million then) in May 2010 from a Hong Kong affiliate of Universal Entertainment Corp., a company owned by Kazuo Okada, an investor in Pagcor’s Entertainment City project.
“Although the news reports indicated the $5-million payment to Soriano was being investigated by US authorities as part of a series of payments totaling $40 million made by Universal’s affiliate Aruze USA, the nature of the payments was not clear from the news reports,” said Naguiat in a letter to De Lima.
The panel is composed of lawyer Marlon Tauli of the National Bureau of Investigation antigraft division, lawyer Catherine Camposano, executive officer of the Internal Audit unit of the NBI director’s office, and Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rosalina Aquino of the National Prosecution Service.
De Lima ordered the panel to “conduct a thorough and in-depth investigation into possible graft and corrupt acts and/or other irregularities that may have attended the transactions between Pagcor and Universal, including Aruze USA and Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment (Tiger Resorts).” Christine O. Avendaño