Senator Lacson links bank deals to Piatco | Inquirer News

Senator Lacson links bank deals to Piatco

By: - Reporter / @KatyYam
/ 12:58 AM September 01, 2011

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson has asked the Anti-Money Laundering Council (Amlac) to look into remittances worth millions of dollars sent from Manila to two Hong Kong-based corporations from 2001 to 2004.

Lacson revealed in an ambush interview he has documents that could link the remittances to the corruption-ridden contract of the Philippine International Air Terminals Corp. (Piatco) to build the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (Naia 3).

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“The period involved (for the remittances) was 2001 to 2004 in the midst of the Piatco anomaly. There seems to be a connection to the Piatco anomaly, to the airport’s Terminal 3,” he told reporters.

He said Piatco seemed to be involved in the transactions.

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According to Lacson, he had documents indicating that two shell corporations registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) had received a series of remittances between 2001 and 2004.

“There were at least two remittances of $1 million each, one of $894,000, among others. Both corporations were registered at the same time and also dissolved simultaneously,” Lacson said in Filipino.

The senator identified the two corporations as Jet Stream Pacific Ltd. International and Mainland Global Ltd.

“Apparently, the corporations were registered to receive the remittances. After they served their purpose, they were closed. The remittances were sent through Hong Kong as the two shell corporations were based there,” he said.

But why did the two shell corporations catch Lacson’s attention?

He said it was because of the period involved, 2001 to 2004, at the height of the Piatco issue. He noted that the shell corporations were dissolved in 2004.

In 2002, the Arroyo administration voided the contract that Piatco won to build Naia 3, on the grounds that the administration of deposed president and convicted plunderer Joseph Estrada had illegally negotiated certain provisions to the government’s disadvantage by giving more revenues to Piatco.

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The Supreme Court upheld the government and nullified the Piatco contract in 2003, following which the government filed a case for expropriation with a Pasay City court.

The lower court issued a writ of possession of the terminal to the government but ordered it to pay Piatco P3 billion as a down payment while the amount of total compensation was being determined.

Piatco and its principal investor, the German-based Fraport, questioned the seizure of Naia 3 not only in the local courts but also in arbitration courts in Singapore (initiated by Piatco) and Washington (initiated by Fraport).

Fraport and Piatco are seeking $846 million in compensation but the government has offered only $149 million.

It was not clear what Lacson was suggesting as he played coy when asked who were the people involved in the shell corporations.

“There are names but when you refer to BVI-registered corporations, it is difficult to determine the incorporators,” he said.

Lacson explained that unlike Philippine laws that require five names to be listed as a corporation, “in BVI, even one single person can register a corporation.”

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TAGS: Anti-Money Laundering Council (Amlac), British Virgin Islands (BVI), corruption, Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA 3), Philippine International Air Terminals Corp. (Piatco), Remittances, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson
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