Wynn Macau casino firm hits back over 14K triad-link accusations

Wynn Macau warns US whistleblower it could take legal action over 14K triad connection claim

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 May, 2014, 3:22am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 May, 2014, 10:51am

One of the world's biggest casino operators issued an angry rebuke last night after a United States trade union boss accused it of allowing organised crime-linked junket operators to do business at its Macau property.

Jeff Fiedler, the man behind a short-lived 2012 US-based whistle-blowing-style website which had aimed to lift the lid on gangland involvement in casinos and lax gaming regulation, has accused Wynn Macau of allowing known associates of 14K triad boss "Broken Tooth" Wan Kuok-koi to promote VIP gaming in its Macau property.

Fiedler, who is director of special projects and initiatives for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), which represents engineers in casinos in Nevada - also accused the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) of failing to determine properly what is or is not a "suitable'' junket operator.

In a letter delivered to the DICJ's director, Manuel Joaquim das Neves yesterday, Fiedler questions "how both the DICJ's and Wynn Macau's compliance departments cleared as 'suitable' a junket operator who has been in business partnerships with members of the 14K triad convicted of triad crimes in Macau."

But last night Wynn Macau lashed out at what they described as "reckless'' accusations.

"Mr Fiedler's latest actions are those of a bitter, unsuccessful union boss who lost representation of employees in Mr [Steve] Wynn's prior company, Mirage Resorts," said a statement.

"The Operating Engineers have been unable to persuade our Las Vegas employees to support their union. These allegations are merely the latest in a series of reckless actions by Mr Fiedler, all of which lack any credibility and are unworthy of further response.

"While Mr Fiedler was able to bully MGM Resorts into surrendering, he will be unable to bully Wynn Resorts. If Mr Fiedler has the courage to accuse us directly of misconduct, we will respond in court at once."

The controversy comes at the end of an eventful week for Macau, which has seen shares in the normally well-performing casino companies take a hit amid fears of a crackdown on illegal cash transfers via China's huge and only payment card, UnionPay.

Triad boss Wan was released from prison in December 2012 after serving more than 14 years for organised crime offences in Macau before its handover to China in 1999.

The Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau had not responded to questions by press time last night.