Gambling is a serious manner in many parts of the world, and Singapore is no different. With multiple laws in place restricting common or public place betting and limitations on how gambling can take place in the home, a Singapore casino has been found guilty of antics beyond their usual publicised services.
The Marina Bay Sands casino sits within the premise of the hotel of the same name and is well known to many who live in Singapore, and of course to those who regularly visit the casino.
However, at the moment it is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons as it appears that team members have been facilitating the movement of substantial numbers of funds from prominent accounts.
Past crimes behind the scenes
In 2019, investigations were made into the casino after a high roller suddenly came into a disastrous run of bad luck at the casino, losing millions and millions.
Chinese businessman Wang Xi had previously endured some large winnings, and after seeing his account deplete quickly, he became suspicious and pulled in his father to review the accounts.
The following lawsuit discovered that unauthorised payments were being made from his account to a total of 22 different third-party accounts. Claiming that no less than $6.9 million had disappeared from his account, it soon became clear that staff were forging his signature to authorise payments being made without him knowing.
Fortunately, the casino was found guilty and made to repay Wang Xi but till this day they have yet to admit any wrongdoing on their part.
Other cases have also been investigated in relatively the same manner, with unofficial banks seemingly involved in the process, either knowingly or unknowingly.
So how do the lawbreaking staff manage to swindle such huge amounts of cash from high roller accounts?
Since gambling is largely against the law in some countries, something called a junket operator is used as a middleman to transfer funds into the necessary accounts and invoices. In addition to being used for gambling, these unofficial banks are also often used to book flights, hotel rooms, and more.
Marina Bay Sands itself does not allow the use of these junket operators, however, they do allow lending between reputable gamblers who are regulars with them or third-party transfers.
We used letters of authorisation at the premises to avoid possibilities of money laundering, however, it seems that it is the staff they should be concerned about and not necessarily the players. In the period from 2010 to 2018, investigations at the casino revealed that an eye-watering S$1.64 billion was illegally transferred by staff.
Executives at the casino claimed they knew nothing of the illegal movement of funds from clients’ accounts, but other reports from the inside reveal that blank letters of intent were asked to be signed and details added later to facilitate additional movements of cash funds.
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