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Caesars accused of illegal donations to politicians in Japan

Niji Narayan

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Caesars accused of illegal donations to politicians in Japan
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US casino major Caesars Entertainment has allegedly given illegal donations to Japanese politician, according to a report published in Japanese weekly Shukan Bunshun. The news assumes particular significance as the Japanese government is on the verge of passing the Integrated Resorts (IR) bill that would allow casinos to operate in the country.

The magazine reports that the company has made illegal bribes to Japanese politicians through appearances at social gatherings organised by politicians. Attendance was only possible only through purchased tickets, which Shukan Bunshun says represents a form of bribery. Caesars replied that it is a legal and accepted practice.

Current and aspiring politicians often conduct fundraisers through social gatherings. It is a straightforward method of gathering funds for political campaigns, and is conducted in countries all around the world. According to Japanese law, political donations by foreign citizens or companies is illegal; however, the Political Funds Control Law (PFCL) does not expressly cover the purchase of tickets to political social gatherings.

Caesars confirmed that one of its advisors, Jun Okawa, purchased tickets to attend the gatherings for years. Caesars Executive VOP of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility Jan Jones Blackhurst defended its position against the accusations, and was quoted by AGB saying, “The recent Bunshun article, as it relates to Caesars Entertainment, focuses on the long-standing and legal practice in Japan of buying tickets to political fundraising events. We believe that the purchases of such tickets by our consultant over many years were made in accordance with the laws of Japan and other jurisdictions, as well as in accordance with our own robust compliance policies and procedures.”

Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, also defended the activity. Appearing before the state Diet last Thursday, he said that the practice did not violate any law and was a non-issue. Yasutoshi was one of the politicians whose gatherings was attended by Okawa.

The magazine turned to Hiroshi Kamiwaki, a professor at Kobe Gakuin University, to support its argument. Hiroshi, a strong opponent to the current administration, said the general idea of the PFCL is that political donations and party ticket purchases are virtually the same thing. He further stated that, even if it’s not illegal, the practice of using lobbyists of a foreign company to fund a politician’s campaign is, at the very least, immoral.

Shukan Bunshun noted authorities in the United States are currently conducting their own investigation into the matter to determine whether or not the actions violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977. The periodical also pointed out that the Caesars engaged in the activity while it was still operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

 

Source: calvinayre.com

Asia

Asia Pioneer Entertainment Terminates Two Lease Agreements

Niji Narayan

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Asia Pioneer Entertainment Terminates Two Lease Agreements
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Asia Pioneer Entertainment (APE), the Macau-based slot machine agent, has terminated two finance lease agreements for the leasing of electronic gaming equipment (EGE). The agreements were terminated after Siam Star Leisure and GLIMEX failed to pay lease rental of around HK$17 million and HK$9 million, respectively.

APE said the group is now expected to write off the HK$26 million finance lease receivables from its 1H20 accounts and has demanded the return of the leased equipment.

Under the terms of the lease agreements, both signed in December 2018, APE has the right to terminate “without the need for any notice or demand” if the lessees fail to make any payment for equipment rental by the due date.

“The Company intends to identify new lessees for the EGE in Macau or other Southeast Asian countries,” APE said.

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Asia

Singapore Casinos to Remain Closed Beyond June 1

Niji Narayan

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Singapore Casinos to Remain Closed Beyond June 1
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The gaming venues of Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands are to remain shut beyond June 1, the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) of Singapore confirmed.

Singapore will see three-quarters of its economy resume normal operations when measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic are eased from June 2, the government said last week.

“The Ministry of Trade and Industry announced on 19 May the list of businesses which are allowed to resume operations from 2 June 2020 onwards. Casinos are not included within the list,” CRA said.

“The government will further monitor and assess developments in the Covid-19 situation to determine the appropriate timelines for the gradual resumption of more businesses and activities, including the casinos,” it added.

“With the phased approach, we are ready to help our workers go back to work and allow businesses to resume in a safe way,” the government said.

Marina Bay Sands said on its official website that the property “remains closed in support of the Singapore government’s ongoing efforts to combat the Covid-19 situation.”

“We are working closely with the authorities on our reopening schedule, in line with Singapore’s gradual resumption of business activities in phases,” it added.

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Adriano Ho to Take Over as Director of DICJ Next Month

Niji Narayan

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Adriano Ho to Take Over as Director of DICJ Next Month
Photo Source: ghi888.com
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Lei Wai Nong, the Secretary for Economy and Finance, has confirmed that Adriano Ho will take over as the Director of Macau’s Gaming of Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) on June 10, replacing Paulo Martins Chan.

Chan will step down on June 9 with Ho to be formally appointed the following day.

Lei said that progress on amendments to Macau’s gaming law, which is set to form the legislative basis for the retendering of gaming concessions, will not be affected by the change of director.

“The authority of making decisions about the gaming law are in the hands of the Chief Executive and the five Secretaries. The DICJ’s job is mostly to execute our decisions and policies,” he said.

Ho is currently a key advisor to the Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, having previously headed the Police Criminal Investigation Department and the Gaming-related and Economic Crimes Investigation Department.

Discussing the appointment with media, Lei expressed his belief that Ho has enough experience in the field of gaming to perform his new role but denied his appointment was intended to strengthen regulations on gaming operators.

“Regulating the gaming industry is a persistent work for the government, it is not future tense. No matter who is the DICJ director, we’ll continue with our regulation as usual to ensure healthy development of the gaming industry,” Lei said.

The Secretary also emphasised that Chan’s departure is a “normal personnel change,” revealing Chan had offered his resignation last year but had been retained for another six months to aid transition – even though his tenure had been extended by a full 12-months until 1 December 2020.

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