Gamal Abdelaziz, also known within the casino sector as Gamal Aziz, was among 16 people indicted on Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Massachusetts in the United States in connection with an alleged cheating scheme to get family members admission to selective colleges and universities.
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.
Tuesday’s indictment – a follow-on to an earlier one – said Mr Abdelaziz, described as a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, had agreed in summer 2017 to pay a total of US$300,000 to a middleman, William Singer, in return for the latter “facilitating his daughter’s admission” to the University of Southern California as a “purported basketball recruit”. She was offered a place at the institution in March 2018, according to the court document.
The indictment added that Mr Singer telephoned Mr Abdelaziz in January this year to warn him that questions were being asked within the university about why the daughter was not playing for a college team. Mr Singer said a cover story had been created by a college staff member purportedly involved in the alleged fraud, that the daughter had an injury. According to the court document, Mr Abdelaziz “confirmed that he would provide the same cover story if questioned”.
Tuesday’s indictment – known technically as the “second superseding indictment” – charged Mr Abdelaziz with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He had initially been charged last month – after being detained then released without any bail conditions – with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and “honest services” mail fraud. The latter is defined in a federal statute as involving “fraudulent schemes to deprive another of honest services through bribes or kickbacks…”
Mr Abdelaziz “does not intend” to plead guilty to the charges, the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing his Boston, Massachusetts, attorney, Brian Kelly. “We fully expect to be vindicated at the end of this process,” Mr Kelly was quoted by the media outlet as saying.
The arraignment date for the case has not yet been scheduled, according to a Tuesday statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Mr Singer, of Newport Beach, California, has already pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges and has been cooperating with authorities, according to U.S. media reports.
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.
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"We forecast Grand Lisboa Palace will have EBITDA of HKD2.0 billion (US$260 million) with 330 tables by 2022, and HKD3.5 billion with 380 tables by 2023"
Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings