All In

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 November, 2008, 12:00am

When business is good in casino-land, every deal is a winner, every partnership a sure bet. But when things go south, watch out for the fallout ...

Mother files writ against Century Legend directors

Century Legend - a family-owned Macau real estate investor, and former owner of the Holiday Inn casino hotel and attached Macau Diamond Casino - put out a stock exchange announcement this week saying three of its directors were being sued by their mother.

Szeto Yuk-lin has filed a writ against her children - company chairman Samuel Tsang Chiu-mo, his brother and his sister - over their stakes in two holding firms that control a combined 43.36 per cent of Century Legend. Ms Szeto was perhaps the first VIP room operator in Macau, having opened the original Diamond VIP gaming hall inside casino magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun's original Lisboa back in the early 1980s.

Century Legend did not give details about the nature of the legal action, but stated that the matter 'is purely a family dispute among family members of the controlling shareholders ... which does not involve the assets of the group'.

Cambodian operator wants S Korean partner to cough up

Cambodian casino operator Nagacorp said yesterday its partnership with South Korean gambling outfit Poibos was on the rocks after the latter company failed to come up with contractual payments of US$2 million. Late last year, Nagacorp inked a deal to sublet 32 tables on the main floor of its NagaWorld casino hotel in Phnom Penh to Poibos, which would in turn bring well-heeled Korean gamblers in for a punt. The deal called for Poibos to pay management fees to Nagacorp in exchange for use of its facilities, but the Cambodian firm said US$2 million of its first US$12.6 million instalment payment had been 'dishonoured', which sounds suspiciously like accounting-speak for 'their cheque bounced'. What's more, NagaWorld had issued Poibos US$2.6 million in gaming chips, but the Korean firm's cash deposit with the house had fallen below that level to US$1.9 million.

All in reckons Poibos won't have much luck trying to cash those out.

High-rolling cadre placed risky bets with public funds

If you think your pension fund has taken a beating, spare a thought for the residents of Chenzhou city in Hunan .

It turns out that Li Shubiao, former director of the Chenzhou Housing Provident Fund Management Centre, placed some risky bets with nearly 100 million yuan (HK$114 million) in public funds - not on the stock market, but on the baccarat tables in Macau. A Hunan court heard this month that between 2002 and 2004, Li made more than 50 trips to Macau, where he would wager up to 1 million yuan at a time. The court heard how Li would borrow funds from the local branch of the Agricultural Bank of China by pledging the provident fund assets or debt as collateral. He would then wire his yuan to Zhuhai bank accounts controlled by two brothers from Puning city in Guangdong named Wu Mingding and Wu Mingguang.

The brothers would change the yuan to Hong Kong dollars on the black market, then use it to purchase VIP gambling chips in Macau, for which they collected a commission of 0.08 per cent of the total money being laundered. Between April 2002 and January 2004, Li made 34 transfers via the Wus for a total amount of 103.37 million yuan. The court has yet to issue a sentence, but we're guessing leniency is out of the question.

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