A lawyer representing SunCity Group founder and former boss Alvin Chowchukwa said on Tuesday that there was no commercial need to pursue illegal profits in underwater betting through a “winner” as former Macau junket operator SunCity Group had a huge gaming business generating billions of pataka for the Macau government.
Mr. Chow and 20 other defendants in the city’s first instance court face charges of illegal gaming, criminal associations, fraud and money laundering. Mr. Chow is also accused of leading a criminal organization. The closing arguments for the case began on Tuesday as scheduled late.
Leung Hornman, who is defending Mr Chow, said Sun City Group was somehow “not running a criminal business.” Since its inception, the junket operator has contributed “MOP 300 billion” ($37.3 billion) to the Macau government in game taxation, achieving commission income that peaked at “HK$20 billion” ($2.56 billion) annually, Mr Leung claimed.
The rolling chip turnover achieved by SunCity Group in its heyday is comparable to that of the “Macao casino operator,” Leung added, later referring to the underlying gaming business of the concessionaire and the sub-concessor. 파친코
He questioned whether a company with a “huge income” like SunCity Group needs to make illegal gains from behind-the-scenes betting. A “multiplier” is a private arrangement that multiplies the betting face value of the player shown in the table several times for play and betting settlement. The system is also said to be a way to avoid taxes amounting to nearly 40% that would otherwise be incurred by properly declared gross bets.
No incentive to put legitimate business at risk
In a summary, Leung said that “illegal gains from behind-the-scenes bets amounted to more than HK$21 billion ($2.6 billion) over the years from 2013 to 2021, citing evidence presented by prosecutors in the weeks-long trial.
But he said: “These amounts are modest in proportion to commission income earned by [SunCity Group], ranging from HK$14 billion to HK$20 billion [annual].”
The lawyer went further, saying that the Sun City Group had “scale” and that “and…Did Mr. Chow’s social standing really risk committing these illegal acts with the thousands of workers he employed?”
The idea of such a criminal motive “was illogical, and we hope the court will consider it,” the lawyer said.
Mr Leung also said he did not find any “cheating” or received any “civil complaints” against SunCity Group, noting evidence filed in court by a member of the city’s casino regulator, Game Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
Law enforcement officers were only able to back up the allegations against Mr Chow and SunCity Group through some financial data found on the company’s servers, but failed to prove the actual table play records of Macau casino regulators or casino operators, Leung also stressed.
During the trial, law enforcement police also stated in court that several multiplier betting groups had been formed over the years, some of which were run directly by SunCity Group. Leung countered that police admitted they had yet to confirm the money transactions of people believed to be the multiplier betting group or find out who was claimed to be their shareholders. Mr Leung argued that there was a lack of evidence that Mr Leung benefited from those alleged to be the multiplier betting group.
Tuesday’s session also heard from a number of other lawyers finalizing their respective defense of Mr Chow’s co-defendant, including those who were previously senior executives of SunCity Group.
Lawyers for Macau operators Win Macau, MGM China Holdings, SJM Holdings, Sands China and Galaxy Entertainment Group have also taken to court. The companies are separately seeking civil damages for losses reportedly incurred in behind-the-scenes betting linked to SunCity Group.