A court sentenced three employees of the Crown Casino chain of Australia origin after they confessed contravening gambling promotion laws. Jason O’Connor, a senior executive, was jailed for ten months although the sentence was backdated to last October when he was arrested. The other two, Jane Pan Dan and Jerry Xuan got nine months that include the time they have served already.
The casino chain was fined 1.67 Million Dollars given to all except three of its 19 present and former workers arrested in China the previous year. The workers could be free from detention in the capital of China as earlier than expected an encouraging outcome following an accomplishing year for the firm and casino tycoon Mr Packer.
The arrests came last October year in China, some weeks after the publicized separation of the 49-year-old billionaire with Mariah Carey, a pop star. As Crown Resort share prices dipped, Mr Parker restored back up his interests in China. He was subsequently mentioned in connection with a corruption case involving Benjamin Netanyahu, with allegations that he issued the Israeli Prime Minister with expensive gifts, who has since vehemently denied all allegations.
The claims have, nonetheless, not been proven and there is no evidence that the employees violated the law by Mr Packer.
The Business mogul has been conspicuously missing in public life for the past couple of months, only making an appearance on his super-yacht towards the end of last week in Tahiti, during a luxurious holiday in the company of his friends. His devoted friend Karl Stefanovic joined him on board Arctic P, together with Jasmine Yarbrough, the girlfriend of Today’s host and Rose Ashton, Jasmine’s fellow Sydney model.
Mr Packer appeared relaxed while sailing past Bora Bora Island some days before the conclusion of a terrifying of eight months in the life of the casino tycoon.
Crown Casino on Trail
Shares in the casino chain dropped to an annual low of 9.71 dollars following the news of the arrests of the employees, three of whom are Australian. While fears that money laundering charges, which carry a maximum ten-year sentence, could be labelled against them surfaced, it became apparent early this month that they will face the lesser charge of promoting gambling in the country’s mainland. In China, gambling and promoting betting are illegal.
Foreign casinos have been engaging in the risky game for many years so as to reap from the excessively profitable Chinese VIP market. The casinos depend on junkets to woo wealthy clients. Junkets refer to intermediaries who set out to exploit loopholes in the law that permit them to advertise facilitates and hotels. However, some resorts, later on, started sending their own employees.
This development proved detrimental to Crown; its 19 employees (17 present and two previous) pleaded guilty to the accusations that were read to them in a closed courtroom in Baoshan District Court, in Shanghai. The suspects (comprising of three Australians, one Malaysian and fifteen Chinese) will attempt to limit the jail term because they have been in custody for close to nine months. They are in danger of facing a three-year jail term while the Crown Resort risks a much weightier penalty.
The arrests of Crown employees followed Beijing’s crackdown on overseas casino operators dubbed Operation Chain Break at the beginning of 2015. The onslaught put shook the gambling territory of Macau, the region where gambling is lawful. In June 2015, 23 employees of two South Korean betting firms together with several other local employees were remanded.
Mr Packer’s previous business partner, Lawrence Ho, informed the Finance Times that, foreign gambling harbours, in general, failed to exercise due diligence, he said: You could find casinos sales personnel purporting to offer credit, discussing the collection, it was apparent.
After the arrests, Mr Packer shelved plans to introduce a global casino brand, dropping his interest in Macau and deserting a multibillion-dollar casino investment in LV. A Bloomberg investigation revealed that several Crown offices in 8 Asian countries that had been instrumental in attracting gamblers have since quietly closed down.
The Businessman instead opted to dedicate his energies to his investments in his home country (Australia) especially the 2 million-dollar worth casino currently being built at the magnificent Barangaroo on Sydney Harbour that must attract high-rollers so as to thrive.
He, additionally, has two major exits to contend with; the chief executive Rowen Craigie will be leaving in February while the director and past chairman, Rob Rankin, is opting out of the board.