CEZA denies giving license to Clark online casinos

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SANTA ANA, Cagayan: The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has denied issuing license or visa to a Chinese online casino tycoon or to anyone in Clark Freeport where it has no jurisdiction.

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Linked to some issues in testimonies before the Senate blue ribbon committee on Monday, CEZA issued a statement in response to an investigation of the reported P50 million bribery scandal at the Bureau of Immigration (BI), which involves gambling magnate Jack Lam.

Jose Mari Ponce, CEZA administrator and Chief Executive Officer, said they never issued a license to Lam to operate his online casinos.

“We have [not]issued licenses or visas to any other online gaming operator or support service company there for that matter. CEZA does not have an authority over operations in Clark,” Ponce added.

Earlier, Lam was accused of bribery and economic sabotage for allegedly attempting to offer money to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd in connection with the arrest of over 1,300 Chinese illegally working at Fontana Leisure Park and Casino in Pampanga.

Lam, however, has denied the allegations.

In November 2016, about 1,316 foreigners from Lam’s casino were arrested, some of them alleged holders of CEZA Working Visa.

“No CEZA Working Visa has been issued to any foreign national working in any company at Clark Freeport,” Ponce said.

He added they have conducted investigation and worked closely with the Bureau of Immigration and other government agencies to ensure compliance and regulation of expatriates within its jurisdiction.

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