Suncity Trial: No Evidence of Illegal Betting, Says Macau Regulator
Posted on: November 2, 2022, 10:13h.
Last updated on: November 2, 2022, 06:03h.
Macau’s gaming regulator (DICJ for its Portuguese acronym) saw no evidence that junket giant Suncity was operating under-the-table multiplier bets. And it was unaware any such illicit operations occurred anywhere in the gambling hub.
That’s according to three veteran DICJ officials who testified this week in the trial of former Suncity CEO Alvin Chau and 20 other Suncity employees at Macau’s Court of First Instance.
The defendants are accused of illegal gambling, criminal association, fraud, and money laundering. Prosecutors have styled Suncity, formerly the biggest casino junket operator in the world, as “a criminal syndicate.”
Central to the trial is the alleged existence of under-the-table betting operations in Macau, which prosecutors said were run by Suncity for its high-rolling clients. They accuse the company of cheating the Macau government out of just over US$1 billion in gaming revenue by offering clients tax-free multiplier bets.
This involved the junket group surreptitiously multiplying stakes on each official bet placed at a casino by a Suncity VIP client, according to prosecutors. These wagers would be settled later, tax-free.
“I had not seen any of these activities, and nobody had ever reported to me about them when I was on shift,” Alexandre Alves Rodrigues told the court Tuesday, as reported by Macau Business. Rodriguez served as a DICJ inspector for over 25 years and was later acting head of the Gaming Inspection Department.
Two other DICJ employees gave similar answers. All three had, in their careers, been tasked with monitoring gaming floors and junket VIP rooms, the court heard. This included checking for signs of illicit activities within gaming areas.
Previously, the court heard from a former Suncity employee, Lei Cho Ieng. She testified that her superiors had asked the marketing department to promote multiplier betting operations, and this was included in their key performance indicators.
Prosecutors have threatened to charge a former marketing department executive, Jessie Lai I Teng, with perjury for denying that illicit betting was part of the business.
The court also heard from a former employee of Suncity’s IT department. He testified he had been part of a team that devised a computer system to log large-scale multiplier betting.
Chau himself has said that under-the-table wagering is rife in Macau, but his company played no part in it.
Five of Macau’s six casino licensees were initially complainants in the case, arguing they also lost revenues because of the alleged operation. The court ruled that the cases should be separated into criminal and civil proceedings.
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