Posted on: March 2, 2022, 11:36h.
Last updated on: March 2, 2022, 12:38h.
Casino operator Macau Legend Development Ltd has appointed a new CEO. The news comes a month after its former CEO and chairman, Levo Chan, was arrested by Macau authorities for illegal gambling, money laundering, and formation of a criminal syndicate.
Macau’s Public Prosecutions Office has said that Chan, a major shareholder in Macau Legend, is suspected of being the head of a triad gang. That alone carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
Per a Wednesday filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Melinda Chan, no relation, will now head up the company. She previously served as CEO from March 26, 2020 to December 29, 2020, and is a former member of the Legislative Assembly of Macau.
Meanwhile, the vacant chairman position will be filled by two Macau Legend directors, Li Chu Kwan and David Chow. The latter is Melinda Chan’s husband and also a former member of the Legislative Assembly.
Macau Legend owns the Fisherman’s Wharf entertainment complex in Macau’s harbor and operates three casinos under the SJM Holdings license.
Arrest ‘Not Related’ to Macau Legend
In the wake of Chan’s arrest, the board issued a statement distancing itself from its former chairman and CEO.
“The Board is of the view that as the Group is operated by a team of management personnel and the above incident relates to the personal affairs of Chan and not related to the Group. The Board does not expect the above incident to have a material adverse impact on the daily operations of the Group,” it said.
Chan was also the head of Tak Chun, Macau’s second-biggest junket operator. And it’s these operations that appear to have caught the eye of the authorities.
China has launched a crackdown against the junket industry, which is part of a wider battle against cross-border gambling and capital flight. China’s Ministry of Public Security has said that about RMB1 trillion (US$145.5 billion) flows out of the mainland into gambling activities every year, which is a threat to the country’s “economy and national security.”
Chan’s arrest came two months after that of Alvin Chau of the Suncity Group, the world’s biggest gaming junket. Chau was detained by Macau authorities in November on charges of operating a criminal syndicate, offering illegal online proxy betting from the Philippines, and money laundering.
Chau, too, has in the past been accused of having triad links. According to Australian authorities, he was once a member of the 14K Triads under notorious gangster “Broken Tooth” Wan Kuok-koi.
In the aftermath of Chan’s arrest, shares in Macau Legend plunged by more than 20% to an all-time low, but have since rallied.