Korean casino operator Landing International Development Corp appears to have had its lease agreement to develop and operate an integrated resort in Manila’s Entertainment City put on hold.
Media reports suggest that the Philippines’ Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) – a state-owned corporation under the Department of Tourism – to suspend its lease agreement with Landing until the company obtains the relevant licences from both Pagcor and the National Economic Development Authority. However this could be complicated by president Rodrigo Duterte’s moratorium on issuing any additional casino licences.
“Our agreement to lease a parcel of land of approximately 9.5 hectares in size located in Parañaque City, Philippines, from Nayong Pilipino Foundation is a legally binding contract,” said Landing International in a statement to the gaming media.
“We are not informed that the land lease contract is cancelled, and we are not aware of any reason or ground for cancellation of the lease contract.”
The move comes following a complaint by Maria Fema Duterte – president Duterte’s niece and an NPF board member – which alleged that Landing International would be underpaying for its lease, relative to the market value of the land at the nearby Solaire Resort and Casino, and Okada Manila.
The COA’s report found that the NPF Board of Trustees headed by Patricia Yvette Ocampo, approved Landing’s proposal “without conducting an independent appraisal and advertisement to the public to solicit offers from other interested parties to ensure that the proposal is the most advantageous to the government.”