Jan 30, 2023 Newsdesk Latest News, Macau, Top of the deck
A Macau court was offered evidence on Monday, including of recordings from police-wiretapped telephone conversation, that the prosecution says proves the direct involvement of Levo Chan Weng Lin (pictured in a file photo), once head of now-defunct Macau junket operator Tak Chun Group, in illicit under-table bet activities.
It was also reiterated to Macau’s Court of First Instance that the city’s Judiciary Police estimated that from April 2014 to February 2020, an alleged illicit gambling operation led by Mr Chan had generated no fewer than HKD34.9 billion (US$4.45 billion) in rolling chip turnover from under-table bet activities, and earned no fewer than HKD1.50 billion in illicit profits.
But the former junket executive’s defence team prompted a prosecution witness to confirm there was no corroborating Macau-regulator data to prove that the gambling spoken about on six particular recordings – allegedly relating to the ‘multiplier’ – had ever taken place in Macau casinos. For the multiplier to happen, there needs to be an over-the-table, legal bet, while at the same time an under-the-table bet of many times that multiple is allegedly secretly agreed between a facilitating party, and a player.
The effect of such an arrangement was to prevent Macau’s then-39 percent effective tax rate on casino gross gaming revenue (GGR), from being levied on the undeclared amount of the bet.
Monday’s session featured Macau Judiciary Police investigator Mak Chon Kit commenting on recordings of several different sets of conversations – based on police wiretap operations said to have taken place throughout 2018 and into 2019.
The identity of the other person on the Cantonese-language calls had not been confirmed, conceded Mr Mak, though the male speaker referred to Mr Chan as “boss”.
Regarding queries from the man regarding certain arrangments for patrons’ gamblng, Mr Chan was heard to say either “Let’s do it the old way”, or “Let’s see how it plays out”.
Police investigator Mr Mak told the court: “In these calls, you can always hear a man briefing [Levo] Chan about some under-table bet deals, about the clients, and discussing what multiples and conditions to arrange for the games.”
He added: “Then Mr Chan would give instructions, and also talked of the revenue split.”
The police confirmed the unknown caller had been using a telephone number registered to an individual called “Wong Wai Hong”. The latter was believed to have been employed by two entities that allegedly engaged in under-table bets in Macau, namely “Grupo Levo Lda” and “Company Weng Chun”.
According to the indictment, they were formed by Mr Chan and other parties for the purpose of accepting under-table bets and operating such activities.
The investigator said that in other wiretapped material the police gathered, telephone conversations suggested that Tak Chun Group’s business development department received requests for under-table bets, and relayed the the requests to a higher level.
From 2018 to 2019, the Judiciary Police had accessed 32 wiretapped recordings allegedly featuring conversations between Mr Chan and other parties on under-table betting. In relation to six of the conversations, there was a document trail linked to the financial records of “Company Weng Chun”, that were said to have been found at one of Tak Chun’s Macau offices.
Mr Chan’s lawyer, Leong Hon Man, asked the Judiciary Police investigator in court whether those six conversations and the associated paper trail, could be linked to any records of actual Macau casino play. Mr Mak conceded they could not.
In other evidence on Monday, Mr Mak asserted that Tak Chun Group had internal training materials for staff, where under-table-betting was explained as one of the services that could be facilitated for gamblers.
The trial continues.
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