Closing arguments in the case against former Suncity chairman Alvin Chau began on Tuesday, with his lawyer claiming there was no actual evidence to suggest Chau had received any benefit from betting under the table activities. He also said Suncity Group, which earned more than US$10 billion a year, did not need to rely on betting under the table to make money.
Lawyer Leong Hon Man, representing Chau, pointed out in his closing arguments that since the liberalization of Macau’s casino industry 2002, the economy had grown rapidly with Suncity expanding to 29 VIP clubs at its peak, making it the largest junket company in the world. It was therefore inevitable, he explained, that some people would use these VIP clubs for illegal purposes and it was difficult for VIP operators or concessionaires to fully monitor them.
“Suncity Group’s revenue even exceeded that of Las Vegas, [making it] the world’s largest junket company, and every meeting was recorded, but even the witness of the DICJ testified that no illegal activities were found in the Suncity VIP rooms,” Leong said,
He added there was no evidence to suggest that Suncity had actually collected money from betting under the table, and that compared to Suncity’s annual revenue of more than US$10 billion, any revenue from betting under the table was a “drop in the bucket” so Chau did not need this to increase revenue.
“There is no evidence of financial transactions in any of the evidence [presented],” he said. “There is no evidence to support this. There is no evidence that Alvin Chau received any revenue from betting under the table companies.”
Chau was charged by the prosecutor’s office with having conducted more than 40,000 bets under the table in 229 VIP clubs. Leong said, “According to the principle of presumption of innocence, the prosecution should have to prove that each of the more than 40,000 bets took place and the details of each offence. However, the evidence only showed four groups of betting under the table, and the evidence of the four groups of betting under the table was not sufficient.”
Leong noted that throughout the investigation, the Judiciary Police (PJ) did not obtain betting records from the DICJ and concessionaires to prove that more than 40,000 bets had been placed, while of the 229 places where bets were placed, only 11 of them belonged to Suncity.
“It is claimed there were more than 40,000 betting under the table instances in 229 VIP rooms, but it is not clear whether this actually happened or how the bets were placed,” he said.
On charges of money laundering, Leong said Suncity did not generate any revenue from the transfer of money and it would be difficult to prove that Chau had used such transfers for the purpose of money laundering, which he requested the judge take note of.
He also spoke of the credibility of evidence presented by mainland police, claiming, “The statements of mainland witnesses should be given orally, but the court relied only on the documentary evidence sent by the mainland police, which was not entirely accurate.
“It was all clerical evidence, which was collated by the mainland police, not the original evidence, not the original mobile phone evidence, and there was no further understanding of the mainland police evidence by [Macau’s] Judiciary Police.”
Lawyers for Wynn, Galaxy, MGM and The Venetian were also present on Tuesday. In their closing arguments, they all agreed with the prosecution’s view and said they wanted to seek compensation from Suncity for lost revenue from betting under the table.