THE Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on Friday filed a complaint against Chinese gaming tycoon Jack Lam and four others for violating the Anti-Dummy Law.
The VACC, through its president Dante Jimenez and legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio said Lam and four others broke the law to get around the prohibition on foreign ownership of real estate.
Also named as respondents in the eight-page complaint were Rosanno Nisce, former president of Fort Ilocandia Holdings; Siu Wah Chung, a British national and former chairman of the board; Edgar Lim, former treasurer and director of Fort Ilocandia Holdings; and Jose Roberto Mumuric, former secretary and director of Fort Ilocandia Holdings.
Topacio said the company used “layering” to show that Filipino ownership came to 60 percent, contrary to the truth that Fort Ilocandia’s is owned mostly by Lam.
“Through corporate layering, Fort Ilocandia through its dummy companies, and its directors and officers are able to exercise, enjoy, use and exploit real property in the Philippines, contrary to law,” the VACC complaint said.
The VACC also sought to declare the Asset Purchase Agreement entered into by Fort Ilocandia with Grand Ilocandia and WPI (Waterfront Philippines Inc.) to be null and void for being contrary to law.
Grand Ilocandia was the original operator and owner of Fort Ilocandia Resort and Hotel when it participated in the deal on Sept. 9, 2000.
Through the asset purchase agreement, Fort Ilocandia Holdings was able to acquire from Grand Ilocandia properties and assets including the Fort Ilocandia Resort and Hotel.
“There is a violation of the Anti-Dummy Law, when a qualified Filipino citizen or national allows a foreign citizen or non-qualified person to enjoy rights, privileges, property or business, the exercise of which is limited to Filipino citizens,” the complaint said.
Citing records from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the VACC noted that the stocks of Fort Ilocandia Holdings are shared by Ilocandia Holdings Corp., which holds 59 percent of the Filipino shares; Intellectual Group Ltd. (IGL) which owns 39 percent of the foreign shares; and less than 1 percent to Lam.
However, the VACC learned that Lam seems to also have a hold on IGL when it signed a May 6, 2000 memorandum on behalf of IGL over a P150-million loan given to WPI.
The VACC also noted that Ilocandia Holdings has 39 percent foreign ownership through Corpsmart Ltd. and 59 percent Filipino ownership through Sevenseas Holdings.
“The corporate structure of the above corporations, despite being seemingly complaint with the Philippine laws, warrants a deeper investigation as to their real foreign equities and those of their subsidiaries... or affiliattes,” the complaint said.
Lam is involved in a bribery scandal with four high-ranking officials of Bureau of Immigration officials, who reportedly received P50 million from him in exchange for the release of the undocumented Chinese workers arrested in Lam’s casino facility in his Fontana Leisure Resort in Clark Field, Pampanga on Nov. 24.
Of the 1,316 arrested Chinese nationals, a total of 592 were granted bail by the BI board of commissioners. Only 43 of them were charged for violation of Presidential Decree 1602 (Illegal Gambling) and Republic Act 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012).
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