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Verdict in Levo Chan case set for April 21: Macau court

March 9, 2023 Macau Crime & Legal

The verdict – and eventual sentencing – in the case involving Levo Chan Weng Lin (pictured in a file photo) and other defendants linked to the now-defunct Macau junket operator Tak Chun Group will be announced on April 21, said on Wednesday the presiding judge, Lam Peng Fai.

But prior to the date for adjudication being set, Mr Chan was permitted to address the court, claiming he and his staff were not criminals, but hard-working professionals who had made a legitimate contribution to Macau’s economy.

Wednesday’s session was for closing arguments in the case, which has been held at the city’s Court of First Instance.

Mr Chan and eight others accused had been charged with crimes including being members of a criminal organisation, illicit gambling operations, defrauding the Macau Special Administrative Region government and the city’s six casino concessionaires, and money laundering.

It was alleged those indicted had run a criminal syndicate that produced illicit profits of at least HKD1.50 billion (US$191.1 million at current exchange rates) over nearly six years. Mr Chan has denied any wrongdoing.

On Wednesday, prosecutors suggested withdrawing the charge of usury linked to gambling faced by two of Mr Chan’s co-defendants, due to statute-of-limitations considerations. The panel of judges is to rule on whether the duo should no longer be considered defendants in the case.

Prior the panel setting the date for the verdict, Mr Chan said in open court: “Tak Chun Group is not a criminal association.”

The former junket boss stated he hoped the bench would “get the facts straight,” and “prove the innocence of me and my staff, so that we can be acquitted, and we then can reunite with our families for a normal life, and continue to contribute to the country and our society.”

Mr Chan added: “The indictment accused me and my former staff [of being] a criminal group, a triad. I don’t agree. Every staff [member] in the group is innocent, and had been working hard,” making a contribution to Macau’s economy since the initial liberalisation of the city’s casino market at the turn of the current century.

He also asserted that Tak Chun had done a lot of charity work, including giving help to schools in remote districts on the Chinese mainland.

In the morning court session on Wednesday, Leong Hon Man, a defence lawyer, said the Judiciary Police’s wiretapping of telephone calls by Mr Chan had yielded insufficient information to prove the claim that either the junket boss or other former Tak Chun executives had been part of a criminal group.

Mr Leong also questioned the validity of testimony from 20 former Tak Chun staff, on the basis that they had no “direct knowledge or experience” of alleged under-the-table bet activities, also known as the “multiplier”, a key element in the prosecution’s narrative regarding illicit gambling operations.

But in summing up the case against Mr Chan and the other defendants, prosecutor Tam I Kuan said that the evidence collected and aired in court hearings held since the trial opened in early December, had “substantively” proven the case against Mr Chan.

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