A former senior casino executive in the Las Vegas and Macau markets is one among dozens of either wealthy or prominent people reportedly charged in the United States with bribery offences linked to college admission for children of theirs.
The charges involving alleged illegal payments to university officials to secure places at prestigious colleges were brought by federal prosecutors after an investigation that has been referred to by the authorities as “Operation Varsity Blues”.
Gamal Abdelaziz (pictured in a file photo), also known within the casino sector as Gamal Aziz, was arrested – according to the Las Vegas media – on charges of bribing a university official to get a daughter into the University of Southern California.
Mr Abdelaziz spent in aggregate decades in senior roles in the U.S. and Asia with, respectively, MGM Resorts International; and with Wynn Resorts Ltd and its Macau unit, Wynn Macau Ltd.
He was part of an MGM Resorts team overseeing a branding deal the group had on a beachside casino resort at Ho Tram, near Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. MGM Resorts pulled out in March 2013, prior to the property’s opening in July that year.
In January 2013 Mr Abdelaziz was hired to lead the development of Wynn Macau Ltd’s Cotai project Wynn Palace.
The property opened in August 2016. In September that year he resigned as executive director and president of the local unit, amid commentary from investment analysts that the property had been underperforming.
The U.S. media had reported that court documents made public on Tuesday indicated that self-styled consultant William Singer had promised to secure college places for users of his service.
Mr Singer, aged 58, of Newport Beach, California, reportedly agreed to cooperate with investigators and plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and other charges, in the hope of getting a lenient sentence.
One of the most high-profile names to emerge so far in connection with the enquiry has been Hollywood actress Felicity Huffman, a star of the “Desperate Housewives” television series. She made a federal court appearance in Los Angeles, California on Tuesday.
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"We hope that the earnings power of that building [the Londoner], when we are finished, can rival that of the Venetian [Macao]"
Senior vice president of investor relations at casino operator Las Vegas Sands