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Offshore gaming firms cry NBI harassment

/ 12:58 AM March 29, 2017

A group engaged in offshore gaming operations on Monday questioned a raid conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation on one of its members last week.

In a statement, the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) expressed reservations about the search warrant which members of the NBI cybercrime division used to raid the Greatfeat Services office in Lepanto Building in Makati on March 21.

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Pogo said the search and seizure order was addressed to Arriba Universal, which holds office on the same floor as Greatfeat.

Pogo accused the NBI of harassment, rounding up employees, segregating Filipino and Chinese employees, and confiscating phones and computers.

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But Martini Cruz, cybercrime division chief, said the team “did not harass them and no one was arrested.”

He said only one employee was handcuffed because he was rowdy.

Cruz declined to further elaborate, saying he had already met with Pogo and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to thresh out the issues.

48 hours

The search warrant against Arriba was issued by a Quezon City regional trial court on Friday. The source said the NBI was only given 48 hours to implement it.

Sources privy to the service of the warrant said Arriba is a service provider outsourced by Pagcor as one of licensees. As service provider, Arriba is not allowed to entertain the placing of bets.

During the investigation, which happened at 9 p.m., the company’s lawyer reportedly arrived and told the agents, “This is not Arriba Universal, this is Greatfeat.”

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The source said the agents were surprised because the result of a background check showed that the office was being used by Arriba..

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TAGS: Martini Cruz, NBI, offshore gaming firms, philippine offshore gaming operators
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