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Bank denies certifying PAGCOR's third-party auditor –Gatchalian

The bank that allegedly certified Global ComRCI, a Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation third-party auditor for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO), denied issuing such a certification, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in a Friday statement.

According to Gatchalian, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla sent him a letter in which Medalla quoted a communication from Soleil Capitale Chief Executive Officer Raj Astavakra saying that Soleil Chartered Bank was based abroad and did not operate in the Philippines.

Soleil Capitale added that they had no record of a document or any correspondence concerning the certification of Global ComRCI, and Astravakra was not aware of the bank certification.

Medalla also said that, based on the records from 2014, Soleil Chartered Bank had no pending application for a banking license with the BSP and it did not receive nor process any application from the bank.

Medalla explained that only those authorized by the BSP to operate as a bank could issue a letter of credit or certification.

“It can be deduced clearly from the BSP letter that Global ComRCI submitted a spurious bank certificate to PAGCOR. This brings to question not just the legitimacy of the contract [with PAGCOR] but also the credibility of Global ComRCI to conduct a third-party audit of POGO gaming revenues,” said Gatchalian.

GMA News Online has sought comment from Global ComRCI and PAGCOR on Gatchalian's statement, but they have yet to respond as of posting time.

Gatchalian recently filed a resolution seeking a Senate investigation into the alleged irregularities in the hiring of the third-party auditor that assesses POGO revenues.

The filing of proposed Senate Resolution 452 stemmed from the fourth hearing of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, during which it was alleged that Global ComRCI was not credible and not capable of performing a POGO audit, and it was also allegedly awarded a billion-peso PAGCOR contract based on "spurious" bank certifications.

In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB last week, PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco said Global ComRCI had submitted all bidding documents.

"I don't see any irregularity in the contract because if you will go through the documents that they did submit during the time of the bidding, one thing is clear: they complied with the requirements of the [terms of reference]," said Tengco. — DVM, GMA Integrated News