Former Macau junket operator Paul Phua Wei Seng flew out of the United States hours after being set free by a Las Vegas judge on Monday, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Mr Phua walked from court after Judge Andrew Gordon ruled that agents from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation had acted unlawfully before and during a July 9 raid on a villa at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas that was being used by Mr Phua. It was alleged Mr Phua was running an illegal online betting operation that accepted millions of U.S. dollars in illegal wagers on soccer games during the FIFA World Cup in Brazil last year.
Via his lawyers, Mr Phua had strongly denied the allegations. He had been on US$2 million bail during the legal process.
In the hearings that led to the release of Mr Phua – a Malaysian national – it was revealed that Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had vouched for him in a letter to a senior FBI official.
In the “private and confidential letter,” Mr Hamidi denied allegations by the bureau that Mr Phua was a member of Hong Kong’s 14K triad, a secret criminal society, reported the Review-Journal. The minister also claimed Mr Phua was assisting Malaysia on issues of national security.
In June last year, Mr Phua was arrested in Macau in a crackdown on an alleged online betting ring that, according to Macau police, took HKD5 billion in wagers. He was deported from the territory.
According to court documents filed in November by U.S. federal prosecutors, Mr Phua allegedly paid a police officer in Macau as much as HKD5 million shortly after his arrest there.
Mr Phua also strongly denied those allegations.
A spokesman for the office of Macau’s Secretary for Security said at the time that it did “not have any information to provide on this issue.”
Sep 25, 2023The Macau government has made public the maximum number of licensed gaming promoters – also known as ‘junkets’ – that each of the city’s casino operator will be able to work with in...
"We [estimate] that these illegal [currency exchange] transactions account for somewhere between 50 percent to 60 percent [of Macau's annual gross gaming revenue]”
Managing partner at IGamiX Management and Consulting