Former Tak Chun Group junket boss Levo Chan Weng Lin denied, during the resumption of his trial at the city’s Court of First Instance on Monday, that either he or the company had ever been involved in so-called ‘multiplier’ betting activities in Macau casinos.
On Monday, Mr Chan asked to speak so that he could clarify some facts, reported the Macau News Agency. In the first session of the trial, last week, Mr Chan spoke only a few words.
Macau’s Public Prosecutions Office has indicted Mr Chan and eight other people for illegal gaming, criminal association, fraud, and money laundering.
The prosecution has said that the group headed by Mr Chan had benefitted from illicit profits from multiplier bets amounting to least HKD1.50 billion (US$193.0 million at current exchange rates) over nearly six years.
According to a copy of the indictment reviewed by GGRAsia, the prosecution claims multiplier business enabled by Tak Chun generated rolling chip turnover of more than HKD34.9 billion for the period covering April 2014 to February 2020. As a result, the Macau government missed out on about HKD575.21 million in tax that should have been paid on gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated from such turnover, says the indictment.
With the multiplier, the bet denominated at the casino gaming table is said actually to represent a bet made privately that can be a multiple many times the ‘official’ one, thus avoiding paying on some bets Macau’s effective 39-percent tax rate on casino GGR.
Monday’s hearing at Macau’s Court of First Instance was the second session of a process likely to take a number of weeks.
At the latest hearing, Mr Chan repeatedly denied allegations that he was involved in any multiplier betting scheme, reported Macau News Agency. But according to the outlet, he stated that this kind of betting activity was “commonplace” in the Macau gaming industry.
“The entire industry knows that some junket agents and representatives would engage in under-the-table betting with gamblers privately,” he reportedly said. “But even officers from DICJ [the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau] had never found any of these betting activities in casinos, so it’s even more difficult for my employees to find out,” he was cited as saying.
During last week’s hearing, several former Tak Chun staff gave evidence as witnesses. Some of them respectively admitted they were aware of training materials for internal company use that mentioned so-called ‘under-the-table’ bets and ‘telephone-assisted bets’ as elements of the group’s services. Such documents were produced in court by the prosecutor.
In the latest court session, Mr Chan disputed those claims. “I am not aware of under-the-table betting… I am not aware of such activities in Tak Chun,” he said, according to the report. “I also want to emphasise that the company [Tak Chun] and I had not given any instructions to employees about under-table betting,” he reportedly added, saying that he only knew about the existence of those documents when prosecutor Lai U Hou “showed them in court”.
Four Macau casino operators have confirmed civil compensation claims amounting in aggregate to just over HKD134.7 million against Mr Chan and the other defendants, in relation to allegations of their criminal conduct regarding VIP gaming business.
The trial continues.
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