The trial against Suncity Group founder and former CEO Alvin Chau has been scheduled for September 2, 2022. There are over 200 charges against Chau and 20 other defendants, which were involved in money laundering and fraud among other offenses. The trial, however, is very likely to be postponed as it is expected that some of the defendants, currently located in mainland China, may not present themselves before the court.
Chau Is Being Held in Prison Awaiting for His Trial on September 2
Macau’s famous casino junket executive Alvin Chau was arrested back in November 2021 as an investigation by the Macau authorities indicated that he took part in major crimes involving Suncity Group’s junket operations.
The charges against Chau include money laundering, illegal gambling, fraud, participating in and leading a criminal group, and so on. Chau has been detained in prison and is still held there awaiting his trial which is currently scheduled for September 2.
However, it is not uncommon that such trials, which have many defendants lined up, are postponed as some of the defendants do not show up. In this particular case, some of the 20 defendants are currently detained in prisons in mainland China. Time will tell whether the court sees that as a basis for proceeding with the trial without them being present.
Chau Allegedly Deprived Macau Budget of $1 billion
According to the investigation, the Suncity Group criminal scheme involved over 60,000 agents across Asia, which helped Chinese residents go on luxurious gambling sprees in Macau and other destinations across the continent.
The charges against Chau also indicated that the illegal gambling operations he was heading have deprived Macau of tax revenue of about $1 billion in the period from 2013 to 2021. This was achieved while gamblers made bets on the table and doubled that sum with bets under the table resulting in much bigger profits for the Suncity Group.
The Alvin Chau scandal resulted in a serious crackdown from the Macau government on junket operations and a major change in the Macau Gaming Law. The new regulations eradicated the existence of VIP rooms and decreased the length of concessionaires’ licenses from 20 to just 10 years among other things.
Implications for Suncity Group and Other Connected Companies
Following Chau’s arrest Suncity Group, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, decided to change its name to LET (Leisure Entertainment Taste) Group in order to distance itself from the massive scandal. The group also closed its junket business after Chau resigned as CEO and chairman. Eventually, Suncity Group managed to hire Andrew Lo Kai Bong as its new CEO, who has now the tough task of leading the company through difficult times.
The illegal junket operations of Suncity Group have also brought down two Australian casinos, Star Entertainment and Crown Resorts. Investigations into their operations proved ties with Chau’s junket business leading to Crown Sydney barely keeping its license.