The Philippine anti-money laundering (AML) authorities have filed a criminal complaint against a casino junket operator for alleged involvement in a US$81-million money laundering scandal.
According to several media reports, the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Council stated in its complaint to the Philippine Department of Justice that a junket operator called Xu Weikang and Cagayan-based Chinese businessman Kam Sin Wong, also known as Kim Wong, were allegedly involved in a scheme to launder the funds. The money was reportedly stolen by hackers from an account of the Bangladeshi central bank at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Cagayan province, in the Philippines, is home to the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority area, which features a special gaming jurisdiction issuing online gaming permits to firms serving offshore customers.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council stated in its complaint – quoted by several Philippine media outlets – that “all elements [of money laundering] are present in this case.” It added that Mr Xu and Mr Wong took the money while aware that the funds were “proceeds of unlawful activities.”
The council earlier initiated proceedings against a bank manager of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, also allegedly involved in the case. The person and an assistant had already been dismissed from the bank, said media reports.
It is unclear from the Philippine media reports whether Mr Xu runs or is associated with junket operations in other Asian jurisdictions. Research by GGRAsia indicates his name is not included in the annual list of licensed junket operators in Macau, released in January by the city’s casino regulator.
Some media reports also identify Mr Wong as a junket operator at Midas Hotel and Casino, a Manila property majority-owned by Leisure and Resorts World Corp.
Salud Bautista, president of PhilRem Service Corp, a remittance company allegedly used in the process to launder the funds, told a Philippine senate enquiry that US$30.6 million had been delivered to Mr Xu between February 5 and 13. Another US$28.8 million went to Bloomberry Resorts and Hotel Inc, a subsidiary of Bloomberry Resorts Corp and the operator of Solaire Resort and Casino, a property located in Philippines’ capital, Manila.
Bloomberry has alleged the money was destined for Mr Xu’s junket operations at the property. According to a company representative quoted by the council, the funds were “converted into non-negotiable chips issued to regular casino players.”
There has been no suggestion that Bloomberry was complicit in any improper movement of funds.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council complaint stated that Mr Xu “remains to be in possession of the stolen funds” even while reports about the money laundering case “have been all over the newspapers and are now subject of ongoing Senate… committee hearings.”
The country’s casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, in early March said it was investigating claims that at least three casinos in the country were used as part of the money laundering scheme. It later said preliminary findings indicated only one of the country’s large-scale casino resorts was caught up in the case.
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