When American casino developer Stephen A. Wynn declined the invitation of his former partner Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada for him to meet with Philippine President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) for a handshake agreement that will take a bite out of $33-billion gambling tourism in nearby Macau, Mr. Aquino should have asked full and truthful disclosures from his Philippine gaming-in-chief and classmate Cristino L. Naguiat, Jr. what really happened when Naguiat and his family and 13 subordinates were given a four-day royal hospitality at Wynn Macau hotel resorts last September.
Aside from denying that his entourage was given $50,000 shopping money by Mr. Okada, Mr. Naguiat even lied to President Aquino that he was in Macau as a “casino operator” and not as a “casino regulator.”
How can Mr. Naguiat represent himself as a “casino operator” when he does not own a casino in the Philippines? If he was there as a “casino operator,” why did he not register his name at the front desk of Wynn Macau and let the name of “Suzanne Bangsil,” wife of Rogelio Bangsil, official of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), to register her name on his behalf?
In gambling parlance, talo ka na umiiwas pusoy ka pa? (You already lost out yet you are still pretending to have the upper hand?)
Did you, Mr. Naguiat, also tell President Aquino that because you enjoyed Mr. Okada’s hospitality so much you returned with another group to the same hotel two weeks later only to be told that your accommodation was being downgraded from your prior “Villa 81,” $6,000-a-day accommodation? I wonder if you were fetched at the airport by a Rolls Royce again? As a popular beer commercial would say, “so good, ayos na ang kasunod!”
(One good round deserves another!)
WORN OUT HIS WELCOME
Isn’t the downgrade an indication that you wore out your welcome??By denying the $50,000 shopping money, Mr. Naguiat had turned liars out of the staff of Mr. Okada.
I don’t blamed Mr. Naguiat for putting himself in this difficult dilemma. If he admits receiving the $50,000 from Mr. Okada, Mr. Naguiat would have to extricate himself from violating the pre-martial law Philippine Republic Act No. 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Instead of explaining to the President the motive of Mr. Wynn for questioning Mr. Okada’s excessive hospitality extended to him and his party, Mr. Naguiat blamed Mr. Wynn for dragging him in Wynn’s corporate fight with Mr. Okada.
Mr. Naguiat did not tell the President that Mr. Wynn is the latest casino operator in Macau who could be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Security Exchange Commission for violation of the Foreign Corrupt and Practices Act.
Ayaw ni Mr. Wynn madamay sa imbestigasyon! (Mr. Wynn does not want to be dragged into the mix.)
Only last February, Sheldon Adelson, owner of Las Vegas Sands, Mr. Wynn’s major rival, was being investigated for potential illegal dealings with a public official as well as a tie to an organized crime figure in Macau. Adelson owns Sands Macau, the first of three casinos run by Adelson.
A big donor to the Republican campaign (he donated $10-million to Newt Gingrich’s campaign) and a likely donor to Mitt Romney if he wins the nomination, Adelson’s donation to the Republican campaign might prove embarrassing if he would be indicted for violation of Foreign Corrupt and Practices Act (FCPA) in November.
Only recently, President Barack Obama returned a large donation after it was reported that the donor’s brother is a fugitive from U.S. for drug and fraud charges.
So, Mr. Naguiat, it is not too late to return that $50,000 as Mr. Obama and Sec. Hillary Clinton did. The money that was given to you and your subordinates is too big to fit in a “red envelop” called “Lai see” by Chinese or pakimkim by Filipinos. Turn the “tuwid na daan” (straight path) anti-corruption slogan of P-Noy into reality: return that “pasalubong” or “pabaon” given to you by Mr. Okada – return the $50,000! You will never know what Mr. Okada will expect from you in return! Filipinos will be proud of you.
The United States government has stepped up enforcement of the FCPA, doling out $1.8 billion in sanctions to 23 companies in 2010. And the U.S. SEC announced settlement of violations to the Act totaling $251.78 million.
UNTYING THE MESSY GEORGIAN KNOT
And Mr. Wynn does not want to be violating FCPA and coughing up millions to SEC!
Mr. Wynn had earlier accused Mr. Okada of bribing Mr. Naguiat and other PAGCOR officials with some $110,636 in hospitality in order to curry favor with Philippine government officials, who would be regulating the US$2.3-billion casino resorts Mr. Okada is building in the southern portion of the Manila Bay’s reclaimed area.
And Mr. Wynn does not want to have a hand with the $110,636 bribery!
If I were Mr. Naguiat I would also follow-up another complaint raised by Mr. Wynn in the report to him by
former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh that Mr. Naguiat’s predecessor, Mr. Efraim C. Genuino had built himself a golden parachute before Genuino was removed from PAGCOR by crafting the corporate structure of Mr. Okada that will let Mr. Okada own 60% of a Philippine-owned company in violation of the Philippine Constitution that limits foreign owners to 40%.
Mr. Okada owns AGA Philippines, Inc. and Aruze USA, Inc. with Mr. Genuino as one of the dummy company owners.
If Mr. Naguiat will not question this corporate structure, he better recommend to the Philippine Congress first to amend the Philippine Constitution that will let foreigners own 60% of Philippine companies before Mr. Okada opens for business his casino empire in the Philippines.
According to the Freeh report, Mr. Okada has three principal Philippine corporations – Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, Inc., Eagle I Landholdings, Inc. and Eagle II Holdco, Inc. – which are “closely intertwined with Rodolfo Soriano, Paolo Bombase and Manuel M. Camacho,” who have numerous ties with Mr. Genuino.
With regard to Eagle II Holdco, Inc., as late as 2010, Platinum Gaming and Entertainment (Platinum) had acquired 60% of its shares. According to Philippine SEC records, Rodolfo Soriano controlled 20% of Platinum at the time of incorporation. Mr. Soriano was described by Atty. Camacho as the “bag man” of Mr. Genuino and a former PAGCOR consultant and respondent in “PAGCOR referrals.”
Mr. Bombase, an officer, director and nominal shareholder of Eagle I Landholding, Inc. and Eagle II Holdco, Inc., has 1.25% share of Ophiuchus Real Properties Corp., which is 15% owned by a Philippine company named SEAA Corp, which is family-owned and controlled by Mr. Genuino.
The Philippine Congress should step up the plate and untie this messy, if not stinky, Georgian Knot! (email@example.com)