Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Junket King' Alvin Chau is found guilty in Macau

Macau convicts 'junket king' Alvin Chau

 MACAU: Alvin Chau, formerly known as the "junket king" of Macau, was found guilty on Wednesday of running an illegal gambling empire. This brought an end to a criminal trial that shocked the casino hub and brought down one of its most prominent gaming tycoons.

Suncity Group's 48-year-old founder was a pioneer in the junket industry that brought high-rollers from mainland China to Macau, the country's only legal casino.

The former Portuguese colony, which had a casino industry that was larger than Las Vegas before the pandemic, saw the majority of its gaming revenue come from junkets at its height in the 2010s.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's years-long anti-corruption campaign coincided with Chau's demise, which included a much closer look at corrupt officials who might travel to Macau to place bets and launder money.

Chau was indicted on 289 counts of fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling, all of which have the potential to land him in prison for decades.

On Wednesday, Chau was found guilty of fraud, operating a criminal syndicate, and placing illegal bets, but he was cleared of the charge of money laundering.

She stated in her ruling that Suncity under Chau's leadership "conducted illegal gambling for unlawful gains for a long time."

The alleged under-the-table bets that, over the course of eight years, defrauded Macau of more than HK$1 billion in tax revenue were at the center of the September-beginning trial.

Along with 20 others, Chau was charged with facilitating proxy betting so that Chinese customers could gamble remotely in Southeast Asian casinos.

While the defense acknowledged the existence of under-the-table betting in Macau, they emphasized the absence of direct evidence involving Chau, Suncity executives, or staff.

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