Napoles kin own P400M US properties
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Three properties in California linked to the Napoleses are worth up to US$9.5-million or P415.1-million according to various online records.
Based on the California Secretary of State website, which records business entities registered with the state, there are two businesses owned by Reynald Luy Lim.
Lim is the brother of Janet Lim-Napoles and her alleged partner in the multi-million pork barrel scam.
Rappler has been trying to get the side of the Napoles family through various channels but has not received any response.
The US-based properties were purchased within a span of 10 months, from 2006-2007, about 3 years from the time the scheme started, according to whistleblower and Napoles' cousin and former assistant, Benhur Luy.
The years match the testimony of a source who previously told Rappler that the lifestyle of Jeane Napoles, Janet's daughter, got more and more lavish after 2005 based on her posts on her social media networks.
The site's records show Lim as the listed owner of Western Investment Corp and Western Ventures Management Inc but tax certificates for both companies also list James and Jo Christine Napoles as owners, in addition to Lim. James and Jo Christine are the eldest son and daughter respectively, of Janet Napoles.
The two companies have 3 different properties attached to their names.
California's online database states Western Investment Corp's listed address is 620 W Orangewood Ave, Anaheim CA, while Western Ventures Management Inc is said to be based in 1945 E Cienega Ave, Covina CA.
Additionally, online searches and a real estate website also associate Western Ventures Management to a third address, 32 Wedgewood, Irvine CA, and affirms Reynald Lim as the property's current owner along with his wife, Ana Marie Dulguime Lim.
In court papers, the couple was listed as proprietors of a helmet company that was later charged with misuse of public funds. The couple was convicted in 2010 in the Kevlar helmet case but never served time.
According to online real estate records, the properties were purchased on the following dates for the following amounts:
1) Anaheim property
Sq ft: 25,081
Sold: September 2006
Assessed value today: $7,213,642 or P313.9-M
2) Covina property
Sq ft: 4,956
Sold: June 2007
Assessed value: $1,279,994 or P55.7-M
The assessed value of their 3 properties combined currently stands at P415.1-M.
This amount excludes the estimated P80-M Ritz Carlton LA apartment owned by Janet's youngest daughter, Jeane.
According to news reports quoting Luy, Lim ran the pork barrel scam with his sister Janet. Luy was quoted as saying the scheme, which spanned 10 years, took off in 2003.
Lim and Napoles are currently being probed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for their alleged involvement in the scam. The two allegedly pocketed pork barrel money obtained from politicians for ghost projects.
They have denied all accusations and insist all their properties have been obtained through legitimate means.
Hotel, preschool, house
Records further show the type of businesses associated with Lim's Western Investment Corp and Western Ventures Management Inc.
According to tax records, the Orangewood property is home to Anaheim Express Inn. The hotel — walking distance from Disneyland as boasted on its website — is listed as a business under Western Investment Corp and Western Ventures Management Inc.
Janet Napoles had admitted in a past media interview that her family owns the hotel.
Property records also show that the Covina building is home to a non-sectarian pre-school called Cumorah Academy, which caters to children from pre-school up until 1st grade. Property records indicate it is "own[ed]" by the Napoleses.
The Irvine address meanwhile, is a single family residence in a gated community. A Google street view of the address reveals it has a pool in its backyard.
Curiously, the Lim couple bought the house in 2007, when the two were still facing malversation charges filed with the Sandiganbayan.
While the case was ongoing, the couple was not allowed to leave the country but because they used false names in the court papers, the two were not only able to leave the Philippines but were also able to purchase property and set up corporations in the United States.
Both companies however — Western Investment Corp and Western Ventures Management Inc — appear to not be in good standing in California, according to the California Secretary of State website.
Both are listed as "suspended" as of Friday, August 2.
According to the website, a suspended status means "the business entity's powers, rights and privileges were suspended or forfeited in California" because of "failure to file a return and/or failure to pay taxes, penalties, or interest," or because the company failed "to file the required Statement of Information and, if applicable, the required Statement by Common Interest Development Association."
Despite this, the Anaheim Express Inn's website continues to be active. Cumorah Academy does not appear to have a working website.
Meanwhile, the House minority bloc has renewed its call for a legislative inquiry on the alleged misuse of congressional Priority Assistance Development Fund (PDAF) allocations by questionable nongovernment organizations run by Janet Lim Napoles.
Deputy Minority Leader and LPG-MA Rep Arnel Ty said in a statement, “We cannot wash our hands of this supposed shameless plunder of public funds.”
House Minority Leader and San Juan Rep Ronaldo Zamora and 17 colleagues, including Ty, earlier filed Resolution 160, urging a joint inquiry by the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability and the Committee on Ethics and Privileges, on the supposed embezzlement of PDAF allotments.
According to Ty, an authorized House inquiry can compel witnesses to testify. “All of the State’s investigative resources should be out in full force and put to good use here,” Ty said.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue is already probing Napoles and her family, to ascertain whether they have been paying the required income taxes, given supposed income from coal mining concessions.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte earlier said that before the House steps in, the National Bureau of Investigation should first be allowed to conclude its investigation, along with the Commission on Audit. - Rappler.com
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