Macau’s second-biggest junket boss was jailed for 14 years on Friday for running an illegal multi-billion-dollar gambling ring, local media reported.
The high-profile arrests and prosecution of Macau’s big junket bosses have coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive, which includes closer scrutiny of corrupt officials who might travel to Macau to place bets and launder money.
Levo Chan Weng-lin, 51, founded the Tak Chun Group, which brought high rollers from the mainland to the former Portuguese colony, the only city under Chinese rule where gambling is allowed.
A panel of Macau judges convicted Chan on 34 counts, including unlawful gambling, running criminal syndicates, fraud and money laundering, and sentenced him to 14 years in prison, according to local media reports.
The illegal activities were estimated to involve a total of $4.5 billion and earned Chan around $200 million.
His conviction comes months after Alvin Chau, the former “junket king” of Macau, was jailed for 18 years for fraud, running a criminal syndicate and operating illegal bets.
Chan had denied the allegations during his trial.
Along with a crackdown on shady junket businesses, Macau authorities have unveiled new regulations on the gambling industry, and renewed concessions for six casino giants on conditions including increased government supervision.
Days before Chan’s verdict, Macau leader Ho Iat-seng told lawmakers that the government would soon roll out another scheme to diversify the city’s economy while keeping the gambling sector’s share at around 40 percent.
Macau’s gambling industry returned an annual revenue of more than $36 billion before the coronavirus pandemic, accounting for nearly 66 percent of its GDP.
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