Macau gaming tycoon Jack Lam will be allowed to come back to the Philippines and resume running his businesses in the country if he abides by three conditions imposed by the country’s President Rodrigo Duterte, according to Philippine publication Philstar.
The country’s Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has stated that President Duterte will allow Lam to resume his business operations if he settles his unpaid tax revenues from his online business at the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino; if he applies for a gaming licence with the countries gaming commission Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor); and if he issues a statement saying he won’t attempt to corrupt officials in the future.
Lam is the founder of junket group Jimei International Entertainment Group Limited, and is currently accused by the country’s authorities of economic sabotage and bribery, with President Duterte having ordered his arrest in December.
In case the businessman fails to fulfil the conditions offered, his properties in Fontana and Fort Llocandia will be sequestered by the government, Mr. Aguirre stated, reiterating a threat already issued and carried out by the authorities.
During his New Year address, the Justice Secretary also stated that he had previously refused a bribe from the VIP gambling promoter to the tune of 16 million pesos/month, offered by Lam in order to allow his online gaming operations in the country to continue, TDM reported.
A trail of bribery
In November of 2016, an arrest order was issued for Mr. Lam for allegedly bribing Bureau of Immigration officials in order to release more than 1,300 Chinese nationals who were working illegally at Lam’s Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Clark on Luzon Island.
Afterwards, the Philippines President ordered the Macau businessman’s properties in the country to be seized, due to accusations of him failing to pay taxes on revenue coming in from outside the country through online-based gaming activities, despite Lam having paid taxes on land-based revenues from his physical casino property.
Two officials from the Immigration Bureau, Al Argosino and Michael Robles, were also accused and dismissed from their positions for allegedly extorting money totalling 50 million pesos from Mr. Lam, for the release of 600 undocumented Chinese workers.
The officials returned 30 million pesos and conducted a press conference stating they had received the amount as part of a ‘sting operation’ conducted on the Macau businessman and other corrupt officials.
So far, Mr. Lam’s lawyers have dismissed any accusations of bribery by the businessman. The Philippines authorities stated that Lam left the country for Hong Kong in November of last year.