Asia round-up: Chan finally charged; Tiger Resorts sends Okada 'demands' & more

By Louis Thompsett

Former junket boss Levo Chan charged by Macau’s Public Prosecutions Office 

The former boss of the junket Tak Chun Group, Levo Chan, has been formally charged by Macau’s Public Prosecution Office. 

According to reports, Chan faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison. He was arrested by local police in January and has been held in Coloane Prison since. 

The former junket boss was accused of being involved in a criminal organisation, facilitating illegal gambling both on and offline and money laundering. 

Macau’s Public Prosecution Office has now completed its investigation into Chan’s case and submitted an indictment to prosecute him. Nine people in total were arrested alongside Chan, but he was the only one detained.  

Macau’s police force confirmed earlier this year that the arrest of Chan had a direct correlation to the prosecution of ex-Suncity boss Alvin Chau.  

Chau’s case, in particular, led to widespread condemnation of junkets and their future role in Macau. Suncity itself ceased its Macau-based junket business in December and has eyed a move into casino operations. 

Tiger Resorts Asia issues demand letter to Kazuo Okada over disbursed cage funds 

Tiger Resorts Asia (TRAL), which owns 99% of Tiger Resorts, Leisure and Entertainment (TRLEI) – the operator of the Okada Manila casino – has issued a demand letter to Kazuo Okada, calling for an inspection of the casino’s internal documents.

This is after reports emerged that there were unauthorised fund disbursements from the resorts' casino cage. 

“You are hereby reminded that the inspection of corporate documents is a matter of right on the part of a shareholder, and are further sternly warned that denial of such right constitutes a crime under the Revised Corporation Code” Tiger Resorts Asia, demand letter to Kazuo Okada

Okada is the current occupier of Okada Manila. He stormed the resort on 31 May 2022, reclaiming the casino in a long-running dispute with TRAL and TRLEI, after they removed him from the TRLEI board in 2017. 

After receiving a Status Quo Ante Order from a court in the Philippines – which deemed that TRLEI should restore the structure of its board pre-Okada’s departure – the Japanese mogul took control of the casino by force, replacing the TRLEI board with members of his own entourage. 

This development is the latest in a long-running feud between Okada and TRAL. TRAL and its partners Universal Entertainment are looking to reclaim the casino from Okada as 99% shareholders. 

It looks highly unlikely, at this stage, that Okada would allow TRAL representatives anywhere near the Okada Manila.  

Progress made in Philippines gaming framework 

The Philippines has made progress in updating its regulatory framework for gambling, according to the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG). 

For some time the country has been considered a grey zone in terms of regulations but is making strides to become a more regulated market. 

The body had noted that companies operating under Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) licences only have suitability procedures in place for boards of directors and not for shareholders or beneficial owners. 

Additionally, APG claimed the Philippines had an unsubstantial framework in place for land-based casinos under the supervision of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, and the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority. 

Furthermore, there were concerns over real estate agents managing the sale and oversight of casino properties, who were not subject to any anti-money laundering or combating the financing of terrorism checks.

These areas of concern, however, are now progressing as the Philippines looks to bolster its status as a regulated, lawful gaming market. 

Michael Owen becomes Maxim88’s Brand Ambassador in Asia 

Maxim88 has announced a two-year deal with former Liverpool and Manchester United footballer Michael Owen, who will become the official Brand Ambassador in Asia. 

The ambassadorship was brokered by Outlast Sports Entertainment for Maxim88. 

Missed a big gambling industry story in Asia? Don't worry, Gambling Insider has you covered with our Asia round-up. 

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