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Philippines – Philippine Economic Zone Authority clears Universal’s Tiger Resorts

By - 6 September 2013

Universal Entertainment, the operator owned by Kazuo Okada, has been cleared of any corruption allegations in relation to its Tiger Resorts casino venture in the Philippines.

Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Deputy Director-General Tereso Panga explained the process that Eagle 1 Landholdings Inc undertook to become an operator.

Universal owns Tiger Resorts which in turn owns Philippine-based Eagle 1, which has ownership over the $2bn Manila Bay Resorts at Entertainment City.

Mr. Panga said: “Eagle 1 complied with all the necessary documents required for the Presedential proclamation of the Okada resorts as Tourism Economic Zone and TRLEI as the Eco zone ‘without any special favours or accommodations extended and went through the usual process including the filing of an anti-graft certificate, which is the basic requirement applied to all developers and locator enterprises of PEZA special economic zones.’

The PEZA letter also refutes any allegations of bribery.

Universal stated: “In connection with the company’s casino resort project in the Philippines, certain news outlets have been raising allegations of an illegal cash outflow since the end of last year. As was already reported in the IR release of June 21, 2013, titled “Announcement Regarding the Investigation Report of the Third-party Committee,” it is evident that no bribery was involved in the spending. Some media outlets asserted without specific grounds that the company [Universal] obtained economic zone approval from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) by dishonestly offering money to it. The company hereby informs its stakeholders that it has learned that a notification of completion of the procedures for submission of an Anti-Graft Certificate, a document certifying the absence of any bribery or other type of corruption, has reached the local subsidiary that engages in the project.”

The Okada group had been involved in a $40m case on allegations that his company smoothed the passage to its licence award by paying money to Rodolfo Soriano, a consultant of former Pagcor head Efraim Genuino. 

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