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Hanjin Heavy caught up in Philippine bribe scandal

Hanjin Heavy caught up in Philippine bribe scandal

Manila: Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction is at the centre of a bribe scandal over its planned Mindanao facility with ramifications that go all the way to the president of the archipelago.
The presidential palace Malacanang, where Gloria Arroyo resides, yesterday branded as "gossip" a claim that it benefited from an alleged bribe offered by the Korean shipbuilder to gets its project in Mindanao moving.
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson claimed at the weekend that the President will gain from the alleged grease money offered by Hanjin Heavy to Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental Mayor Paulino Emano, who has ordered the company to stop its operations after it failed to comply with some requirements.
Mr Lacson called for a probe on Hanjin's alleged 400 m peso bribe to Mr Emano and even hinted that the South Korean firm also offered money to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
A report by a local newspaper in Mindanao said the bribe was meant to ensure the continued operation of Hanjin's shipbuilding facility in Tagoloan despite the absence of an environmental compliance certificate and a municipal building permit.
But Hanjin officials, in a letter of complaint, claimed Mr Emano was involved in the extortion in exchange for the approval of their project - a $2-billion shipyard that will extend from Tagoloan to Villanueva in Misamis Oriental.
The shipping facility, under construction inside the Phividec Industrial Estate on Mindanao's northern tip, is expected to create at least 40,000 jobs for skilled workers and will have a capacity of 830,000 tons per year when completed.
The Senate is also looking into the building by Hanjin heavy of two high-rise condominiums in the Subic Bay Freeport's rainforest after environmentalists protested that the project ruined the environment.
Hanjin Heavy is also constructing a $1.6-billion shipyard in Subic and said the condominiums were for the use of its staff. [5/4/08]

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