Macau Prosecutors Want Alvin Chau Back on Trial on Fraud Charges

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Alvin Chau, the founder and former chairman of casino junket operator Suncity Group, recently won a reprieve when a court in Macau rejected fraud charges against him. That reprieve may be short-lived, as prosecutors will try to appeal the decision.

Prosecutors Don’t Give Up

The Macau Prosecutor's Office has decided to lodge an appeal with the Court of Final Appeal. It claims that it intends to revive the fraud charges against Chau and other Suncity representatives. This alteration arises from accusations that Chau had engaged in illicit money laundering activities.

Chau and the others were found not guilty of fraud charges, asserting that the allegations of illicit gambling at the former Suncity resort were baseless. In a verdict delivered in October, the Second Circuit Court of Macau validated their plea, upholding their case.

As a result, Chau and his allies are exempt from reimbursing the casinos in Macau for any financial losses. However, prosecutors hope to reverse the court's decision and increase the amount owed. This may alter the HKD25 billion (US$3.2 billion) Chau and Suncity have to give the Macau government.

Prosecutors maintain their stance that Chau must face stricter penalties, including the reimbursement of HKD2.08 billion (US$266 million) to casino operators.

The End of an Era for Suncity

In November 2021, Chau was apprehended and sent to Coloane Prison. His detainment stemmed from numerous allegations, including fraud and involvement in unlawful gambling activities. The court's proceedings spanned over half a year, culminating in a verdict on January 18, 2023.

The verdict decreed that Chau would serve a prison term of 18 years while facing the obligation to reimburse five of Macau's six casino operators. Wynn Macau was to receive HKD 770 million (US$100.1 million), Galaxy Entertainment HKD550 million (US$71.5 million), MGM China HKD300 million (US$39 million), Sands China HKD290 million (US$37.7 million) and SJM Holdings HKD170 million (US$22.1 million).

Prosecutors and Chau both sought relief from the judgment with the Second Circuit Court, which rendered its ruling in October. The court, while absolving Chau of the fraud allegations, upheld his 18-year incarceration term and increased the overall penalty.

Instead of a penalty of HKD8.6 billion (US$1.1 billion) to the casino operators and the government, the court raised the fine to HKD25 billion. It also ordered that all of the money be given to the government.