Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, former boss of now-defunct Macau casino junket Suncity Group Ltd, and six other defendants have been ordered to pay over HKD8.67 billion (US$1.11 billion) to the Macau government and a number of the city’s casino operators. The decision followed their sentencing for a number of crimes, including fraud charges.
On Wednesday, a Macau court sentenced Mr Chau to 18 years in prison in aggregate. Judge Lou Ieng Ha said that the criminal association charge had been proven against Mr Chau and several other defendants, as well as Mr Chau’s leadership role in the criminal group.
Other charges proven against Mr Chau were: illicit gambling, including operating illicit gambling in authorised venues; and fraud. He was not convicted for money laundering.
Twelve other defendants were convicted on Wednesday on various charges. Eight were sentenced to prison terms ranging from nine to 15 years; four got suspended jail terms. Eight defendants were acquitted of all charges.
The judge in her Wednesday comments stated that the under-table-bet operation conducted by Mr Chau and some of the other defendants was a swindle on the Macau government and the city’s six casino operators, interfering with the proper process of taxation, and affecting the ability of the operators to obtain profit from their clients.
Judge Lou said on Wednesday that Mr Chau and other six defendants would have to pay circa HKD6.52 billion to the Macau government as a way of compensation, and would also have to compensate five of the city’s six casino firms.
The defendants were accused of running a criminal syndicate that allegedly cheated the Macau government out of about HKD8.26 billion in tax revenue from 2013 to 2021, according to a copy of the indictment.
A number of the city’s casino operators were also complainants – via their locally-incorporated subsidiaries – in the case, claiming millions of U.S. dollars from Suncity Group. These include Wynn Macau Ltd, MGM China Holdings Ltd, SJM Holdings Ltd, Sands China Ltd, and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. Those firms were separately claiming civil damages for losses allegedly arising from under-the-table betting linked to Suncity Group.
The city’s casino operators were said to have lost out on as much as HKD2.28 billion in gaming revenue, according to calculations by the city’s casino regulator that were included in the indictment.
In Wednesday’s decision, the court said the defendants would have to pay respectively: HKD559.07 million to Galaxy Entertainment; HKD349.02 million to MGM China; HKD295.01 million to Sands China; HKD178.22 million to SJM Holdings; and HKD770.96 million to Wynn Macau Ltd.
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