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HomeNewsAustraliaQueensland Attorney-General: Chow Tai Fook suitable partner for The Star in Brisbane

Queensland Attorney-General: Chow Tai Fook suitable partner for The Star in Brisbane

The Attorney-General of Queensland has ruled that Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited (CTFE) and its associates are suitable to partner with The Star Entertainment Group at its Brisbane casino.

CTFE, which holds a 25 percent interest in the Destination Brisbane Consortium joint venture holding The Star Brisbane casino license, had been under scrutiny by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR).

The evaluation, conducted under the Casino Control Act 1982, focused on various factors including character, honesty, integrity, past conduct, and future conduct, with remedial measures and commitments said to have played a crucial role in determining suitability.

The investigation into CTFE’s suitability was initiated in September of 2022 and prompted by adverse media allegations. It lasted 16 months and involved extensive interviews and information gathering.

Despite some concerns, the Attorney-General’s decision stated it leans towards finding insufficient evidence to deem CTFE or its associates unsuitable.

According to the Attorney-General statement, it was alleged that CTFE had a previous business association with a person arrested in Macau and ‘subsequently shown to be a person of poor repute’ which they did not disclose to the regulator.

‘That association was said to arise because (among other reasons) CTFE and the relevant person each held an interest (although not directly) in a casino project in Vietnam,’ the Attorney-General statement adds.

In 2023, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises took over the Vietnam IR Hoiana Resort, formerly controlled by Macau junket kingpin and Suncity CEO Alvin Chau, who was arrested and charged with illegal casino operations in Macau.

HOIANA, Vietnam, LET Group, Chow Tai Fook
Hoiana Resort & Golf, Vietnam

However, it established that evidence fell short of establishing that CTFE knew that the relevant person was a person of poor repute during the period they were associated, and that at the time allegations against this person were based on ‘suspicion, rumor, and hearsay’.

‘The association was promptly ceased at the time the relevant person was arrested and his poor repute became known,’ the statement says.

‘On that basis, the investigation did not substantiate any motive for CTFE to intentionally conceal that business association from OLGR’.

In respect to assertions that a CTFE subsidiary premises was a front for money laundering, the Attorney-General also defined that information supporting such assertions ‘fell well short’ of proving that CTFE or the CTF Group was involved in, or was an accessory to, criminal conduct.

The Attorney-General added, however, that it found that CTFE lacked candor and fulsomeness in several dealings with OLGR and previously adopted a narrow interpretation of OLGR’s requests for information.

Regardless, it attributed this to ‘differences in cultural and organizational expectations’ stating that the evidence ‘falls short of establishing that the concealment was deliberate’

The decision also added that CTFE was committed to enhancing cooperation with regulators, implementing remedial actions, and appointing a local representative to ensure compliance.

An external financial investigations firm reviewed OLGR’s initial investigation, affirming its diligence and reasonableness.

Still, it underlined that failure to cooperate could jeopardize CTFE’s ongoing suitability and lead to criminal sanctions.

Nelson Moura
Nelson Mourahttp://agbrief.com
Editor and reporter with 10 years of experience in Greater China, namely Taiwan and Macau, in printed and online media, with a focus on finance, gaming, politics, crime, business and social issues.

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