NY-based bank denies issuing certificate to PAGCOR's third party auditor on POGOs

New York-based Soleil Chartered Bank (SCB) is denying it issued a bank certification to a local firm that was procured by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) to be its third party auditor to handle financial matters of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

SCB issued the denial after it was manifested during a Senate hearing that Global ComRCI, which was identified as Pagcor’s third-party auditor, had presented a bank certificate that was reportedly issued by the firm, showing that Global ComRCI had a $25-million deposit.

Some senators believe this was presented to substantiate the P1-billion capital requirement for a third-party contract.

Ali Abbas, SCB's Business Liaison Officer, came to Manila to deny this claim upon learning of this assertion at the Senate Committee on Ways and Means hearing chaired by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

Abbas rejected claims that Global ComRCI had a bank account with SCB New York (SCBNY), saying that the letterhead used in the bank certificate “is not the letterhead used by SCBNY.”

Abbas said also that the bank instruments issued by SCBNY do not indicate any Philippine address as it does not have an office in the country.

Likewise, Abbas expressed doubts on the authenticity of the bank certificate, including the document’s letterhead and the purported signature of the SCBNY chairman.

The document “does not conform to the regulated banking form in New York whether for bank certificates or for bank guarantees," Abbas said.

The SCBNY executive also clarified that his company does not directly issue bank instruments or guarantees to clients.

In the case of Philippine applicants, the issuance of the bank instrument or guarantee is coursed through the state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) or the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

SCBNY legal counsel Elpidio G. Soriano III confirmed Abbas’ assertions, and urged “the Philippine government or any of its department or instrumentalities to confirm SCBNY’s position on the matter."