Press Release
February 11, 2023

POGO auditor's bank not authorized in PH according to BSP-- Gatchalian

The supposed bank of third party auditor Global ComRCI contracted by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) has not been authorized at any point by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to conduct business in the country and thus cannot issue bank guarantees, Senator Win Gatchalian said.

The Senate Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Gatchalian, attempted to establish at a recent hearing the credibility of Global ComRCI in auditing POGOs' gaming revenues with the aim to determine if POGO operations are indeed legitimate.

But a letter given by BSP Governor Felipe Medalla to Gatchalian proved otherwise. In his letter, Medalla said that Soleil Chartered Bank is not among the financial institutions registered with nor under the supervision of the BSP. Also, Soleil does not have a pending application for a banking license with the BSP and that it has never received nor processed any banking application from Soleil based on BSP's records reckoning from 2014, Medalla said in the letter.

Global ComRCI, tasked by PAGCOR to conduct an independent audit of POGOs' gross gaming revenues, has submitted a bank certificate supposedly issued by Soleil in compliance with PAGCOR's requirement for a 10-year P6 billion contract. Under PAGCOR's Terms of Reference (TOR), an entity needs to meet the P1 billion capital requirement to qualify as a third-party auditor.

PAGCOR presented a bank guarantee purportedly issued by Soleil to Global ComRCI in the amount of $25 million.

Medalla also explained in the letter that a foreign bank has to submit an application to the BSP for authority to operate in the Philippines as provided under Republic Act No. 7721 or An Act Liberalizing The Entry and Scope Of Foreign Banks In The Philippines.

In the Philippines, only those authorized by the BSP to operate as a bank may issue a letter of credit. In addition, a foreign bank duly authorized by the appropriate regulator may likewise issue a letter of credit provided the contract is executed outside the Philippines and will not constitute an instance of doing banking business in the Philippines, according to Medalla.

"Based on BSP's letter, it appears that Global ComRCI falsified the bank certification submitted to PAGCOR because Soleil is not authorized to issue any bank guarantee. It is clear from the terms of the reference issued by PAGCOR that this is a ground for the termination of the contract and this issue should not be taken lightly," Gatchalian stressed.


Bangko ng POGO auditor hindi awtorisado sa bansa ayon sa BSP-- Gatchalian

Ang bangko ng Global ComRCI, ang third party auditor ng Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) na kinontrata ng Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) ay hindi awtorisado ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) na magsagawa ng operasyon sa bansa kaya hindi ito pwedeng mag-isyu ng bank guarantee, ayon kay Senador Win Gatchalian.

Sa nakaraang pagdinig ng Senado, sinikap ng Committee on Ways and Means na pinamumunuan ni Gatchalian na suriin kung talagang lehitimo ang operasyon ng mga POGO sa bansa at isa nga dito ay ang pagsisiyasat sa kredibilidad ng Global ComRCI sa pag-audit ng kinikita ng mga POGO.

Pero iba ang napag-alaman ng komite pagkatapos matanggap ng senador ang sulat na galing mismo kay BSP Governor Felipe Medalla na naglalaman ng mga kasagutan sa maraming tanong ni Gatchalian tungkol sa sinasabing bangko ng Global ComRCI.

Sa naturang liham, sinabi ni Medalla na ang Soleil Chartered Bank ay hindi kabilang sa mga financial institution na nakarehistro o nasa ilalim ng pangangasiwa ng BSP. Ni wala nga raw itong natatanggap o napoprosesong anumang banking license application mula sa Soleil batay sa rekord ng BSP mula 2014, ayon kay Medalla sa liham.

Ang Global ComRCI, na inatasan ng PAGCOR na magsagawa ng pag-audit sa kabuuang gaming revenues ng mga POGO, ay nagsumite ng isang bank certificate na inisyu umano ng Soleil bilang pagtugon sa requirement ng PAGCOR para sa isang 10-taong P6 bilyong kontrata. Sa ilalim ng Terms of Reference (TOR) ng PAGCOR, kailangang matugunan ang P1 bilyon na capital requirement bago maging kwalipikado ang isang third-party auditor.

Sa huling pagdinig ng Senado, nagpakita ang PAGCOR ng bank guarantee na sinasabing inisyu ng Soliel sa Global ComRCI sa halagang $25 milyon.

Ipinaliwanag din ni Medalla sa liham na ang isang dayuhang bangko ay kailangang magsumite ng aplikasyon sa BSP para makapag-operate sa Pilipinas bilang pagsunod sa Republic Act No. 7721 o An Act Liberalizing The Entry and Scope Of Foreign Banks In The Philippines.

Sa Pilipinas, tanging ang mga pinahihintulutan ng BSP na magpatakbo bilang bangko ang maaari lamang na mag-isyu ng letter of credit. Dagdag pa rito, ang isang dayuhang bangko na pinahihintulutan ng regulator ay maaaring mag-isyu ng letter of credit kung ang kontrata ay pinirmahan sa labas ng Pilipinas, ayon kay Medalla.

"Base sa sulat ng BSP, lumalabas na palsipikado ang bank certification mula sa Soleil na isinumite ng Global ComRCI sa PAGCOR dahil hindi awtorisado ang Soleil na mag-isyu ng anumang bank guarantee. Lumalabas na kaduda-duda ang operasyon ng Global ComRCI. Malinaw na paglabag ito sa terms of reference ng PAGCOR at dahil dito ay pwedeng i-terminate ang kanilang kontrata. Dapat tutukan natin ito nang maigi," giit ni Gatchalian.

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