Junket mogul Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, who is currently remanded in custody in Coloane prison, has indicated he will resign as chairman of the board and executive director of Suncity Group Holdings Limited, according to a statement issued yesterday.
The company has also made a request to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to resume trading in its shares, following their suspension on Monday morning.
In its statement, the board noted the allegations against Chau, but stressed that its operations at the Russian casino resort Tigre de Cristal, which is controlled by Summit Ascent Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of Suncity Group, were entirely above board.
The board went into some detail noting “that there was news coverage concerning (i) the approval of arrest by the People’s Procuratorate of Wenzhou City on 26 November of Chau Cheok Wa (the chairman of the board, an executive director and a controlling shareholder of the company), in which it was alleged that he has been involved in illegal cross border gambling activities; (ii) the arrest and detainment of Chau by the Macau Judicial Police and it was alleged that he has been involved in illegal gaming and money laundering; and (iii) the integrated resort named Tigre de Cristal (which is located at the Integrated Entertainment Zone of the Primorye Region in the Russian Federation and whose 77.5 per cent of the controlling interest was indirectly held by Summit Ascent Holdings Limited) being involved in cross border gambling activities by sending officers to solicit for customers in the People’s Republic of China for its gaming operations. Summit Ascent Holdings Limited is a non-wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, and the shares of Summit Ascent are listed on the Stock Exchange (stock code: 102).”
The statement added: “As to the allegation regarding the involvement of Tigre de Cristal in cross-border gambling activities, the board would like to clarify that such allegation is untrue. None of the directors, officers or staff of any members of the Group has engaged in the solicitation for customers in the PRC for the gaming operations of Tigre de Cristal.” The board added that the resort was running normally and recent events were not expected to have any adverse effects.
However the statement noted that “as disclosed in last August’s Interim Report of last, the group is dependent on the financial support from Chau and his related companies. In the event that the group losses the support of Chau for whatever reason, the financial position, business and operation of the Group will be adversely affected”
The statement ended with a clear instruction to shareholders and potential investors of the company to exercise caution when dealing in the shares.