The ongoing saga involving Kazuo Okada’s alleged bribery of former Pagcor officials is expected to hit new ground soon after Department of Justice secretary Leila de Lima told reporters that the results of the DOJ’s fact-finding investigation surrounding the case is scheduled to be released this month.
The investigation has taken longer than what the DOJ anticipated but after numerous extensions, the DOJ secretary has officially given the fact-finding team led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rosalina Aquino an end-of-the-month deadline to submit the results of the report.
To be fair to the investigators, the alleged bribery case involving Okada and one Rodolfo Soriano, a former Pagcor associate who worked under ex Pagcor chief Efraim Genuino, hasn’t been an easy investigation. Far from it, actually. A number of deadlines weren’t met because of difficulties the investigators experienced in getting access to prospective witnesses in the Philippines and in Japan, something that was expected given the serious nature of the allegations being cast against Okada and its Vegas-based subsidiary, Aruze USA.
The allegations were first brought to light late last year after a report from Reuters said that payments were made by Okada’s Universal Entertainment through Aruze USA to certain Pagcor officials. In the report, Reuters identified Soriano as the Pagcor official who received the alleged bribery that totaled $40 million. The money was said to have been transferred from Aruze USA to Future Fortune, a Hong Kong-registered company established and operated by several Universal employees. $5 million was sent via Future Fortune to the Soriano-owned People’s Technology Holding Ltd., while the remainder went to Subic Leisure and Management, a company of undetermined ownership registered in the British Virgin Islands in September 2008.
The resulting brouhaha over these allegations compelled Pagcor to request a fact-finding probe from the DOJ with the latter tasked to get to the bottom of the allegations and come up with its evaluation and, more importantly, recommendations, on how to tackle the case moving forward.