Macau’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), says it has not been contacted by prosecutors in Taiwan over allegations that a unit of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd “avoided the scrutiny” of the DICJ in moving money for gambling into Macau.
But the bureau said in an e-mail to GGRAsia on Thursday it would keep a close watch on any developments linked to the matter.
“DICJ did not receive any information from Taipei. Meanwhile, the bureau will continue to monitor closely the case’s development,” the regulator told us.
According to an indictment from the Taipei District Prosecutors Office in Taiwan – handed down on August 6 – between July 2009 and January 2013, the Melco Crown Entertainment subsidiary MCE International Ltd transferred more than NTD5.4 billion (US$180 million) between Taiwan and the parent’s Altira and City of Dreams (pictured) casinos in Macau. That was in violation of Taiwan’s cross border currency controls, said prosecutors.
The indictment added that the action also “avoided the scrutiny of [Macau's] Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau”.
Casinos in Macau are required to report to the DICJ individual transactions worth MOP500,000 (US$62,615) and above. If the DICJ thinks a flagged transaction deserves further scrutiny, it can refer it to the city’s Financial Intelligence Office.
In a statement accompanying its second-quarter earnings summary last week, Melco Crown Entertainment said the company “will defend vigorously any indictment brought against us, as based on Taiwan legal advice received, we believe our operations in Taiwan are in compliance with Taiwan laws”.
The casino investor added: “Whilst we believe the indictment will not have any immediate material impact on our business operations or financial position, we will monitor this case closely and will make further disclosure, as and when appropriate, as this case develops.”
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China