THE M3: PHILIPPINE INQUIRY

The Macau Metro Monitor, March 18, 2013

FBI INQUIRY OVER CASINO FOCUSES ON FILIPINO'S FEE Reuters

The F.B.I. and Philippine investigators investigating potential bribery related to Universal Entertainment’s bid to build a casino in Manila have zeroed in on a $25 million payment the company now says should never have been made.  Rodolfo Soriano, a consultant with ties to the former head of the gambling regulator in the Philippines, received the fee in 2010 to secure land rights for the $2 billion casino, Universal had said.  But records reviewed by Reuters show those rights were obtained free in 2009.


The F.B.I. is involved because the payment originated with a Universal subsidiary based in Nevada. Both the F.B.I. and the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation have been looking into a total of $40 million in transfers to Mr. Soriano since last year as a possible case of bribery.

In a closed-door, three-day hearing with the Nevada Gaming Control Board that concluded Friday, directors of Universal, a Japanese company, were questioned about the payment.  Among those questioned was the company’s billionaire founder, Kazuo Okada.