Solaire bars operators linked to heist
INTEGRATED gaming resort Bloomberry Resorts Corp. has tightened its rules on accreditation of new junket operators in the aftermath of the $81-million money laundering scandal and has barred agents and players involved in the incident.
At the company’s stockholders meeting on Tuesday, Bloomberry chair Enrique Razon Jr. said the two Chinese businessmen tagged by junket operator Kim Wong as the masterminds behind the money laundering case—Shushua Gao and Ding Zhise—had been barred from the casino along with 18 gamers involved in the case.
But Razon said Bloomberry—developer and operator of Solaire Manila—was still doing business with Wong. “(It’s) because he brings business here,” he said in reply to a query from a representative of Las Vegas-based Global Gaming Asset Management (GGAM).
During the open forum, the lawyer-representative quizzed Razon on a number of management issues, including the money laundering case.
Asked about flaws in Bloomberry’s internal processes, Razon said: “The flaw was in the bank letting the money in.”
After the stockholders meeting, Razons said all 18 players had been stopped from gambling and had been barred from Solaire.
Asked what other changes in protocol Bloomberry had made in the aftermath of the money laundering case, Razon said: “This happens very rarely. Most of our fixed junkets, it’s (based on) an end of the month settlement and most of them go through all these process. So if there’s any new junket, we’re very careful from now on. We delay this process to double and triple-check but 99 percent are existing junkets. (For the new ones) we put them through severe checks.”
A gaming junket is an arrangement where a person or group of persons is introduced to a casino operator by a junket promoter who receives a commission.
Razon has no objection to the inclusion of casinos in entities obliged to report suspicious transactions to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
“Yes, because it’s an opportunity to get the law correct,” Razon said, adding however that coverage did not guarantee prevention of money laundering, noting that the illicit money slipped in through a bank even though banks are covered by the anti-money laundering law.
He said lawmakers must also set an appropriate level that would trigger the reporting of casino transactions.
“If amount is too small, we have to report everybody,” Razon said. “It has to be suspicious.”
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