There’s An­other to the Jack Lam Story!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By STAR Re­porter

I n his ad­dress this week at San­dals Grande, to launch Phase 2 of the Pearl of the Caribbean project, Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet ac­knowl­edged the pres­ence of a vis­it­ing del­e­ga­tion of po­ten­tial in­vestors as well as mem­bers of his au­di­ence. The vis­i­tors ar­rived with Desert Star Hold­ings chair­man Teo Ah Khing, their pur­pose be­ing to take a close look at the pro­posed sites. Among them was the Philip­pine casino and on­line gam­bling op­er­a­tor Jack Lam.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s in­tro­duc­tion of the casino mag­nate was like a kick to a hor­net’s nest. Within min­utes a De­cem­ber 2016 ar­ti­cle in the South China Morn­ing Post headed “Gam­ing ty­coon Jack Lam flees Philip­pines, Has Casi­nos Shut Down Amid Sab­o­tage and Bribery Al­le­ga­tions” ap­peared on a par­tic­u­lar so­cial me­dia site. The ar­ti­cle, which de­scribed Lam as “one of Asia’s most in­flu­en­tial gam­ing in­dus­try fig­ures”, ob­served that he had been forced to flee the Philip­pines, hav­ing be­come “a prime tar­get of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s crack­down on drugs and gam­bling.” Duterte’s or­der was called a “dra­matic and un­usual pres­i­den­tial or­der” that ap­plies only to the Philip­pines. The Morn­ing Post’s story in­cluded the ar­rest of more than 1,300 Chi­nese na­tion­als at Lam’s Fon­tana Leisure Parks and Casino in Clark, the for­mer United States Air Force base on Lu­zon Is­land.

But much has hap­pened in re­la­tion to the Lam mat­ter since De­cem­ber 2016. The lat­est devel­op­ment now paints Jack Lam as a vic­tim. Ac­cord­ing to on­line news source May­ala. com, the Se­nate Blue Rib­bon Com­mit­tee in the Philip­pines, chaired by Se­na­tor Richard Gor­don, has de­clared that Lam—whose prop­er­ties were or­dered se­questered by Pres­i­dent Duterte—could be the vic­tim of a shake­down.

On the very day that he landed in Saint Lu­cia it was be­ing re­ported that Se­na­tor Richard Gor­don would rec­om­mend ex­tor­tion charges against for­mer im­mi­gra­tion com­mis­sion­ers Al Ar­gosino and Michael Robles but cleared Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Vi­tal­iano Aguirre II of in­volve­ment in the P50-mil­lion shake­down of gam­bling mogul Jack Lam.

To quote from “Lam was like­wise cleared of any li­a­bil­ity, as his al­leged bribe at­tempt on a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial was, ac­cord­ing to Se­na­tor Richard Gor­don, not proven. The Se­nate panel is set to re­lease its find­ings on its rec­om­men­da­tions on the is­sue.” Mean­while an of­fi­cial source here con­firms that while Mr. Lam vis­ited Saint Lu­cia as a po­ten­tial in­vestor, he and the gov­ern­ment have en­tered into no agree­ments what­so­ever. He added: “Mr. Lam, like any other po­ten­tial in­vestor, would first have to un­dergo rig­or­ous due dili­gence be­fore ac­cep­tance here. Any red flags would be thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated.”

Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet (cen­tre), mem­bers of his Cab­i­net and vis­it­ing DSH per­son­nel at Mon­day’s meet­ing. At ex­treme left, Jack Lam.

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