High profile Malaysian gambler Paul Phua Wei-seng’s fate now lies in the hands of a federal judge, in the multi-million dollar illegal betting operation case. Phua was arrested in July when FBI agents entered his Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas hotel suite disguised as Internet repairmen. The raid was part of an investigation into a huge sports betting operation that Phua has been alleged to have been operating during the World Cup.
On Monday, defense attorneys argued that the agents were deceiving in their actions against Phua by having his Internet service turned off so they could enter his room and then film the room secretly. The defense is asking for the evidence collected in this manner to be thrown out from the case.
Thomas Goldstein the Defense Attorney in the case stated that ‘you do not get to lie to the defendant’ in regards to the underlying methods of the search. Federal prosecutors in the case believe that there was nothing wrong with the methods used to obtain information and the FBI agents act was not in violation of Phua’s rights according to the constitution.
Calling the search warrant ‘fatally flawed’, a magistrate judge has recommended to the U.S. District Court that the evidence be thrown out. The judge had previously denied an additional request by the prosecutors to search devices found in the hotel room, citing the lack of probably cause, among other issues.
United States District Judge Andrew Gordon is set to rule in this case at a later date with Phua as the only defendant left in the case that has yet to be tried. Eight people in total were arrested including Paul Phua’s son, Darren Wai Kit Phua. Six of the defendants pled guilty to lesser charges and agreed to forfeit a specific sum of money and return to Asia. One defendant saw charges dismissed in the case.
In regards to Paul Phua’s son Darren, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor and agreed to forfeit $150,000 as well as pay a $100,000 fine. He then would be allowed to return to Asia. Paul is currently facing two felony charges of operating an illegal gambling business as well as transmission of wagering information. If found guilty, Paul could face as much as seven years in prison.
In addition to his fame as a Macau poker player, and purported infamy in other respects, Paul Phua Wei-seng is also known as a successful businessman – the owner of Macau junket Sat Ieng Sociedade Unipessoal. He also reportedly owns a majority stake in the Philippines based IBCBet sportsbook.