PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte ordered the arrest of one of the biggest gambling moguls in Asia after he allegedly tried to bribe Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chairperson Andrea Domingo, the police said Saturday.
“I am giving orders to all [Philippine National Police] units to arrest [Jack Lam] immediately as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte for the case of bribery and economic sabotage,” said PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa.
Aside from Lam, Dela Rosa said the police have also been ordered to find and arrest former police general and champion poker player Wally “The Dream” Sombero, who was allegedly complicit in the alleged bribery attempt.
“Isama ‘yan [Let’s include him anyway]. Let’s arrest him on sight,” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa said he had already asked Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente to issue an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order against Lam, the Hong Kong-based chairman of the Jimei Group which is one of the biggest gambling junket operators in Asia.
Aguirre, for his part, confirmed that the alleged bribery attempt took place two days after the authorities arrested 1,316 Chinese nationals at an online gaming facility inside the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Pampanga, one of Lam’s three business interests in the Philippines.
The two others are the City of Dreams in Parañaque City and the Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel in Laoag City in Ilocos Norte.
Aguirre said the meeting at a hotel in Bonifacio Global City on November 26 was arranged by Sombero, a former police general who became a champion poker player after his retirement.
During the meeting, the justice secretary claimed Sombero tried to bribe him to hasten the release of the Chinese nationals arrested at Fontana.
Aguirre later claimed that Lam also tried to offer Pagcor chairman Domingo a one-percent cut from his casino earnings so he can continue with his gaming business while applying for a license.
In a press briefing on Friday, Lam, through his lawyer Raymond Fortun, admitted he met with Aguirre along with Sombero but denied the charges of bribery.
Aguirre, however, said charges of economic sabotage can flourish against Lam because of regulatory deficiencies of Lam’s Fontana facility.
Lam is one of the largest VIP junket operators in Asia and his company, the Jimei Group, controls the fortunes of some of the largest casinos in Asia, including the Las Vegas Sands and its three casinos and Wynn Macau.
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