Thursday, December 9, 2021
HomeBreaking NewsTugade denies hiding offshore investments, says they’re part of his SALN

Tugade denies hiding offshore investments, says they’re part of his SALN

  • Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said his holdings in an offshore account are “valid and legitimate”
  • Tugade is one of the more than 900 Philippine-based individuals and among 39 politically exposed Filipino personalities cited in the Pandora Papers
  • The latest in a series of major leaks of financial data exposed by a consortium of journalists, the Pandora Papers detail secret deals and hidden assets of some of the world’s richest and most powerful people
  • Tugade said Solart Holdings was organized in 2003, long before he joined government
  • He said he disclosed the investment in his SALN under “Personal Properties – Intangible”, particularly as “Offshore Investments”, from 2012 to 2020

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade denied hiding his family’s offshore accounts and said these are “valid and legal” investments declared in his Sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN).

He issued the statement on Oct 5 in connection with the release of the Pandora Papers, the latest in a series of major leaks of financial data exposed by a multinational consortium of journalists. The papers detail secret deals and hidden assets of some of the world’s richest and most powerful people.

Tugade is one of more than 900 Philippine-based individuals and among the 39 politically exposed Filipino personalities in the Pandora Papers.

He said he was not made aware of a request for an interview by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) owing to an “administrative oversight”. PCIJ participated in the Pandora Papers investigations as part of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

PCIJ in its report said documents leaked to ICIJ revealed that Tugade has been listed as a director of Solart Holdings Limited, a British Virgin Islands-based company, at least since 2007 but that he has not declared it in his SALN since becoming a public official.

Tugade has disclosed “offshore investments” worth P57 million as assets every year since 2012, but that no details about these investments have been declared, except that these were acquired in 2003, PCIJ said.

“Had it (PCIJ request) reached my personal attention, I would have acted on the same swiftly,” the transport chief said.

He noted his offshore investments under Solart Holdings “is a matter of public record” and that the investment was established in 2003, long before he joined government.

Tugade first held public office as president of Clark Development Corp. in 2012 but quit in 2016 to help the presidential campaign of his law school classmate, Rodrigo Duterte. When Duterte won, Tugade was named as transportation secretary.

Solart held a portion of our family’s cash assets, Tugade noted, and is a “legitimate attempt to grow our financial portfolio” as “any astute and judicious entrepreneurs would do to diversify their investments.”

He described the offshore investment as “valid and legal.”
The same investment, he added, has been “consistently disclosed” his SALN under “Personal Properties – Intangible”, particularly as “Offshore Investments”, from 2012 to 2020.

Over that period, “the account barely moved”.

The transport chief said, “As an appointed public servant, I have taken an oath to uphold transparency, honesty, integrity and good governance. These are cherished values that I personally believe in, and I have made it a lifelong commitment to sustain and carry around myself.”

He added, “Wala po akong tinatago, at sasagutin ko ang anumang paratang at katanungan (I’m not hiding anything and I will answer any accusations and questions) in appropriate forums and manner.”

In the PCIJ report, “Arthur P. Tugade” appears in Trident Trust Group records as the beneficial owner of Solart Holdings. Trident Trust, one of 14 offshore service providers in the Pandora Papers, is the registered agent of Solart Holdings.

In a Trident Trust document, Tugade and his children stated that Solart was expected to have assets worth US$1.5 million (P75 million) in the form of cash, bonds, and securities from the business income of private corporations under the Perry’s Group of Companies. Tugade’s Perry’s Group holds interests in logistics, merchandising, agribusiness and fuel distribution.

PCIJ said it sent an interview request to Tugade on September 15 regarding the information found on the leaked documents and made subsequent follow-ups but neither he nor his staff have responded as of the report’s posting time.

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