SunCity halts trading again, amid “possible default” of shareholder associate
This is the third suspension of trading in the past two weeks for SunCity – which was the largest operator of VIP junkets to Macau casinos – and its subsidiary Summit Ascent, which operates the Tigre de Cristal resort in Vladivostok, Russia.
In this case, the two boards said the suspension was made “pending the release of an announcement in relation to a possible loan default by an associate of the controlling shareholder of the company and possible enforcement of securities charges, which constitute inside information of the company”.
The earlier suspensions have been linked to the arrest late last month of Alvin Chau, who was chair of both businesses until he stepped down last week.
Chau was one of 11 people arrested under suspicion of running an illegal cross-border gambling business.
The group is suspected of creating an illegal live-betting platform based in the Philippines. They are alleged to have attracted customers from mainland China to this site via a Macau-based junket.
The group is then said to have used Macau-based bank accounts to transfer its revenue from the operation.
The Macau Procurator General noted that the group is suspected of committing four crimes, with sentences ranging from 10 to 12 years imprisonment.
In addition to Alvin Chau, two other Summit Ascent non-executive directors stepped down from the operator’s board. Wong Pak Ling Philip stepped down last week, in a move the operator said would allow him to address “personal matters”.
This week, Dr. U Chio Ieong also announced his resignation, in order to “spend more time on other business matters”.
Summit Ascent did not indicate that either event was linked to the Chau arrest and said that no further details of either resignation needed to be brought to the attention of Summit Ascent shareholders or the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Meanwhile, the Macau Bureau of Gaming Supervision (DICJ) has announced that employees of SunCity VIP rooms at Macau casinos should not be affected by the junket operator’s decision to close these rooms in the wake of the scandal. SunCity previously operated rooms at all six gaming concessionaires or sub-concessionaires within Macau, but the DICJ announced that it had closed these on 1 December.
The regulator said that employees should not be affected, however, as they would work for the operators in question, which should be obliged to protect their employment rights.