PAGCOR Chairman fires back calls allegations politically motivated

Monday | February 27, 2012 | 2:45 PM

Manila, Philippines – Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat, Jr. denied in the strongest possible terms the “uninformed and reckless allegations” recently made against him.

He said the lawsuit filed by Wynn Resorts Ltd. against one of its former members of the board, Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada, “is a business dispute into which I have been dragged.” Then he went on: “The recent allegations against me are outrageous, politically motivated and untrue. He stressed that he will “not be distracted by this issue” and will remain focused on doing his job to turn PAGCOR into one of the major contributors of revenue to the Philippine government and people.

“The facts are that I and a group of PAGCOR officials, with approval of PAGCOR’S board, visited Macau in September 2010 to meet with key gaming industry players and examine their operations. The then Vice Chairman of Wynn Resorts, Mr. Okada, invited the group to meet with executives of Wynn Macau and stay at their resort in VIP quarters, compliments of Wynn Macau.

“I only learned of the supposed $20,000 cash advance from Wynn Macau from media reports. Subsequent inquiries by PAGCOR revealed that the advance was drawn by Mr. Masato Araki, a business associate of Mr. Okada’s at the time. I found out about the reported $5,000 credit allocation from the Freeh report. The PAGCOR delegation was never aware of any such allotment, nor was any offer or request made during the trip.

“The much commented upon Chanel bag was left in my room as a gift and on seeing it, I had it immediately returned. The reported $1,673 dinner that was paid for by Wynn Macau included not just the PAGCOR delegation but a number of business associates of Mr. Okada who were meeting with PAGCOR at the time. I know nothing about the reported $110,000 in ’payments’ supposedly made to Philippine regulators since 2008 and certainly did not receive any such ’payments.’

“At the time of our visit, Mr. Okada’s Philippine gaming license had already been approved by the prior PAGCOR management. Any insinuation that the complimentary accommodations extended to me and my family, who subsequently joined me for the weekend, were a bribe is untrue and just plain wrong.

“On assuming the chairmanship of PAGCOR in 2010, I ordered a review of all licenses granted by the previous administration to determine whether they complied with existing laws and regulations. The result of the review was stricter compliance with guidelines to the benefit of PAGCOR and the Philippine government.

“On December 14, 2011 the PAGCOR Board, at my initiative, approved the engagement of an independent third party auditor to ensure compliance with all existing contracts. Since I assumed the chairmanship, PAGCOR has:

  • Remitted P1 billion to the National Treasury through the Department of Finance, representing dividends generated for PAGCOR’S 2011 net income
  • Achieved six record-breaking monthly earnings, the first such accomplishment in PAGCOR’S 25-year history
  • Increased total revenues in 2011 by P5.19 billion or 16.52 percent higher than the P31.46 billion generated in 2010
  • Increased gross income in January 2012 by P600 million compared to the same month in 2011, increasing its funding to beneficiaries by P613 million from January 2011 to a total of P5.19 billion in January 2012
  • Earmarked P1 billion for the “Matuwid na Daan sa Silid-Aralan” project for the construction of 1,000 new classrooms and 100 learning center for kindergarten students and out-of-school youths nationwide
  • Gave P100 million in initial funding to the “Pnoy Bayanihan” project which intends to manufacture thousands of school desks out of confiscated logs. The desks are being donated to public schools all over the country

“I have done nothing wrong and have not violated any laws. My focus is on doing my job – fulfilling PAGCOR’S mission to provide world-class gaming for Filipinos and tourists in an honest, regulated environment and to contribute significant revenues to help build the Philippine nation. I will not be distracted from the mission by an internal company dispute. I am what I have always been since the start of my chairmanship – a public servant, nothing more and nothing less.”

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