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Crown Resorts’ Employees Released from Chinese Jail
- August 14, 2017 By Oliver Young -
The Crown Resorts affair seriously shook the Chinese and the Asian gambling market. In the autumn of 2106 the Chinese authorities arrested 18 people, on the grounds that they organised an illegal gambling chain. The arrestees were accused that they lured in Chinese players to Crown Resorts in Macau. Ten more people were arrested in October, and by then everybody was convinced that the arrests will have a serious impact on the Macanese gambling industry.
The situation looked rather serious, some of the arrested were pretty high in the Crown Resorts hierarchy and some of them were Australian citizens. The accused were first detained, and formal arrests were made later. It was evident that the Chinese authorities were pretty determined to tackle what they considered to be illegal gambling. It appeared that they didn’t want their citizens to spend their money at foreign casinos. Macau is the only place on the Chinese mainland where gambling is legal and the casino industry in the country is well developed.
Jason O’Connor – Crown’s Head of VIP Programmes for International Players Finally Home
Charges were filed against the arrestees and in a procedure some of them were convicted. The head of the VIP programmes for international players at Crown Resorts, Jason O’Connor was the highest ranked employee who was sentenced. The court sentenced O’Connor to a 10-month sentence that he was supposed to serve in the Shanghai prison.
However, O’Connor has just been released by the Chinese authorities. The news of his release where conformed by the Foreign Minister in the Australian Government, Julie Bishop who said that O’Connor will soon come back home to his family.
The reason why the Chinese authorities began with their crackdown on gambling is that they consider it part of their campaign against corruption. A total of 19 people were convinced, 17 of whom were current employees of Crown Resorts, whereas 2 of them have been employed by the company in the past.
Some for convicted for gambling parties, whereas other employees were convicted of engaging in gambling as their primary business, which in China is a punishable crime with the maximum penalty set at 3 years in prison.
Crown Resorts Paid a £1 Million Fine
Out of 19 convicted, 16 were convicted to prison sentences, and the total fine amount to £1 million. Crown Resorts agreed to pay the full fine for all its employees. Jason O’Connor was among the last ones who were released. The time that O’Connor and the other spent in custody since October 2016 was also taken into consideration.
Crown’s Exec Chairman, Mr John Alexander stated that everybody at the company is happy that their employees are finally free. The company provided legal and other support to all its employees. Alexander also thanked the Australian Government, especially the Foreign Affairs Department, for their support and cooperation.
Crown Resorts reacted immediately after the arrests and it withdrew from the Macau market. The company sold its joint-venture casino in Macau for a prize of almost $1 billion. There have been suggestions that the Chinese Government will continue with its restrictive attitude towards casino operations.