Bank denies certifying questioned Pagcor private auditor

February 10, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 110 views

AN affiliate of Soleil Chartered bank has disowned any bank certification issued in favor of third party auditor Global ComRCI contracted by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla’s letter to Senator Win Gatchalian.

In the letter, Medalla cited a statement made by Soleil Capitale’s Chief Executive Officer Raj C. Astavakra that the company’s affiliate Soleil Chartered Bank is based abroad and does not operate within the Philippines. Medalla also said that Soleil Capitale has no record of such document or any correspondence with regard to the certification and that Astavakra is not aware of the bank certification.

In the same letter, Medalla emphasized that Soleil Chartered does not have a pending application for a banking license with the BSP and that it did not receive nor process any banking application from the said entity based on BSP’s records reckoning from 2014, said Gatchalian, adding that only those authorized by the BSP to operate as a bank may issue a letter of credit or certification as per Medalla.

Global ComRCI consortium entered into a 10-year, P6 billion contract with PAGCOR to conduct an independent audit of POGO’s gross gaming revenues. In its attempt to show the legitimacy of Global ComRCI’s operations, PAGCOR during the last Senate hearing presented a bank guarantee purportedly issued by Soleil to Global ComRCI in the amount of $25 million. Under PAGCOR’s Terms of Reference (TOR), an entity needs to meet the P1 billion requirement to be qualified as a third-party auditor.

Also mentioned in the BSP letter are other discrepancies in the bank certification such as the bank logo used in the document.