Businessman denies lady senator’s accusation

The camp of a Filipino-Chinese businessman has denied any involvement in the illegal gambling and human trafficking allegations fired by Senator Risa Hontiveros recently.

According to Atty. Ferdinand Topacio – the lawyer of businessman identified as Linconn Ong – his client has no connection to a company identified as Yatai International Holdings Group which the lady senator alleged as a provider of “safe haven” for illicit gaming and for organizing a “team of Filipino scammers in Myanmar.”

To recall, the senator alleged that Filipinos are being recruited through fake job ads and forced into cryptocurrency investment scam, and that the Chinese syndicate behind it wants to form an “all-Filipino team of scammers” because of their proficiency in English.

Hontiveros then claimed to have found links between Yatai International Corp. and the players behind Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., which had been investigated in the 18th Congress over allegedly spurious pandemic deals with the government.

However, Topacio urged the lady senator to “kindly take a second look at her pronouncements” linking the said company to Yatai International Corporation, and in turn linking the same to Ong.

“We can understand why Ms. Hontiveros may have been confused. ‘Yatai’ is a generic Chinese phrase meaning ‘Asia Pacific’ and is used as a brand name by many other businesses not even remotely related to each other, such as Yatai Spa and Yatai Ramen. The use of the said generic term does not necessarily signify any business connection, in the same way that Megaworld, Mega sardines and Megamall are totally unrelated to one another,” said Topacio.

But while the lawyer admitted that the businessman had worked with Yatai International Corporation for some time, it was only “in the capacity of an employee, and Ong never owned any part of the said company” which, according to Topacio, has been in existence for more than twenty years, and only manufactures rechargeable lamps, electric fans and lighting fixtures under the name and style of “Omni.”

“These products are widely sold in all major hardware and department stores nationwide, and have gained a reputation for reliability and value for money,” Topacio said, adding that “the said company had never been involved in any illegal activity, least of all human trafficking.”

He stressed that Yatai International Corporation is “a totally different entity from the company mentioned by the good Senator and named Yatai International Holdings Group, which is not connected with Yatai International Corporation in any shape, manner or form.”

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