Asian Multi-Billionaire to Face Bribery Charges
May 27, 2012
Money behind bars?
Even a billionaire is likely to stand a trial.
A man worth over $4 billion, the well-known Hong Kong-based real estate investor, Joseph Lau Luen-hun, is likely to stand a trial under bribery and money laundering charges as the latest Asia-Pacific gambling news report.
The billionaire allegedly handed in a large sum of money to an former Macau’s secretary of transport and public works. The bribe was intended to secure several parcels of highly desirable land in the Asian gambling center.
Although the billionaire status didn’t prevent Mr. Luen-hun from the charges, we are yet to see if the money can buy the man out from prison. So far, the court rejected a request to dismiss the case after the lack of evidence was claimed by defendant’s attorneys.
This recent corruption scandal, one of many to face the region, has anti-corruption advocates calling for better enforcement and scrutiny as well as better Know Your Customer (KTC) measures. Yet, the fact remains: in many places in Asia bribery is common. Moreover, gambling is popular and when it comes to getting into Macau, serious interests will compete and will not hesitate to grease the palms.
After all, Macau’s gambling revenues are five times the size of Las Vegas. Even with the advent of mobile and online casinos, Macau is expected to grow for the foreseeable future.
And what is more pleasant than winning a blackjack game at one of those posh Macau casinos and then heading to Hong Kong to party? Las Vegas can match that but is way too far away for most Asian players to visit frequently.