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Business

Pagcor to withhold Japanese casino investor's license

- Jess Diaz - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. (Pagcor) will withhold the casino franchise of Japanese billionaire investor Kazuo Okada until he complies with the Philippine Constitution.

“We will not issue him his license if there is a finding that there is a violation of our Constitution. He will not be allowed to start his operations,” Pagcor chairman Cristino Naguiat told the House appropriations committee.

He said they have told Okada that he has to comply with constitutional provisions limiting him and his foreign companies only to 40-percent ownership of the land where he is putting up a $2-billion gaming complex.

He said Pagcor has given Okada a provisional license but would not issue a permanent license that would allow him to start his operations when his complex is completed next year unless the Constitution’s nationality requirements were met.

The Japanese investor, who is an estranged business partner of American billionaire Steve Wynn of Wynn Las Vegas and Wynn Macau, is building his casino at Pagcor’s $5-billion Entertainment City at the reclaimed area in Pasay City.

According to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), Okada and his foreign companies control as much as 64 percent of the two local firms that were given a provisional gaming license and that own the land his gaming complex is rising.

The OGCC said there are also allegations that some Filipino incorporators of the two firms, who include Pagcor officials during the Arroyo administration, are Okada dummies.

It said Pagcor and the appropriate agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission should look into these issues.

CRISTINO NAGUIAT

ENTERTAINMENT CITY

KAZUO OKADA

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNMENT CORPORATE COUNSEL

OKADA

PAGCOR

PASAY CITY

PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION

PHILIPPINE GAMING AND AMUSEMENT CORP

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

STEVE WYNN OF WYNN LAS VEGAS AND WYNN MACAU

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