Law enforcement officials in Macau have reportedly issued indictments against 21 individuals linked to former Asian junket giant Suncity Group concerning charges of money laundering, illegal gambling and association with criminal figures.
According to a report from inside Asian Gaming, the figures charged by the enclave’s Public Prosecutions Office include the former boss of the once mighty junket enterprise, Alvin Chau Cheok Wa (pictured), and are now soon expected to begin appearing before a local court. The source detailed that this action comes some two months after Suncity Group was found unsuitable to operate in the Philippines due to an investigation uncovering evidence that the company may have been guilty of withholding funds from its customers.
Once the largest junket firm in Macau, Suncity Group had reportedly received commissions for steering wealthy foreign gamblers to partner casinos while simultaneously handling such VIP’s travel, accommodation and banking or credit needs for amounts that often ran into the millions of dollars. However, its business model purportedly began collapsing late last year following Chau’s arrest in mainland China on charges that he had been running an illegal gambling business and engaging in money laundering.
The situation reportedly got even worse for Suncity Group in January when the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau regulator closed all of the junket firm’s Macau gaming lounges including those within the 600-room MGM Macau and even larger MGM Cotai properties. This was purportedly followed by a call from the Las Vegas branch of the International Union of Operating Engineers for the United States government to initiate a formal investigation into the beleaguered company’s ‘historic relationships’ with American casino operators.
Inside Asian Gaming reported that ‘criminal association’ charges are set to form the main basis for the upcoming trials before going on to cite an unnamed source as declaring that the 21 will likely begin their court appearances ‘in June or July’. Criminal laws in Macau purportedly allow officials to hold suspects for up to six months while investigations are carried out although officials can later apply to have this term extended by as much as a further 60 days.
Chau was one of eleven people arrested by police in Zhejiang Province on November 27 and later charged with ‘opening casinos in China’ via his Suncity Gaming Promotion Company Limited enterprise. One of six individuals later transferred to Coloane Prison, the 47-year-old is purportedly thought to have facilitated cross-border gambling by contracting with land-based casinos in Macau before establishing an iGaming operation in the Philippines targeting mainland punters.