ONLINE GAMBLING TYCOON FACES BIG PHILIPPINES BILL (Update)
Pagcor claims Jack Lam owes P13.9 billion.
It's going to be costly for Macau online gambling and junket tycoon Jack Lam to return to the Philippines following his rather hurried departure last year with allegations of economic sabotage, bribery and tax evasion swirling around him.
On Monday a Philippines Senate hearing evidence on a P50 million bribery at the troubled Bureau of Immigration (BI) heard evidence from Pagcor vice president Arnell Ignacio that Lam's Philippines operations had remitted only 1 percent of revenues, and that it was estimated that he owed P 13.9 billion (about US$277.20 million).
However, Ignacio was unable to provide full and verified annual numbers because, he said, Lam was licensed for land casino operations, junket operations and phone betting, but not for his extensive online gambling activity, and Pagcor was therefore unable to monitor revenues from this part of his Philippines business.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, was having none of that, and insisted on financial information that is available to Pagcor, to which Ignacio responded by saying that the numbers would have to be verified, but would be provided to the senators.
The Senate panel heard from Pagcor lawyer Angeline Entienza that the organization has already sent a letter of demand to Lam regarding his ‘outstanding balance' at Pagcor.
The panel is probing an alleged P50 million bribery scam involving BI officials and Lam regarding the release of illegal Chinese workers following a BI raid on Lam premises in the Clark Freeport