HONG KONG (Reuters) – Shares of Macau gambling group Suncity Group Holdings Ltd plunged to a record low in resumed trade on Tuesday after its chairman was arrested over alleged links to cross-border gambling and said he intended to resign from the company.
Alvin Chau, who is also the founder of Suncity – a junket operator that brings in high rollers to play at casinos, extending them credit and collecting on their debts – was arrested by Macau police on Sunday.
Suncity’s stock slid to a record low of HK$0.133, its lowest since its listing in 2007.
On Friday authorities in Wenzhou, a city in eastern China, issued an arrest warrant for Chau, accusing him of operating gambling activities in mainland China where gambling is illegal.
Part of the investigation involves Russia’s Tigre de Cristal resort which is close to China’s northeast border and is controlled by Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings, of which Suncity is the controlling shareholder.
Shares of Summit Ascent slid nearly 50%.
Suncity said in a statement late on Monday that the allegation that Tigre de Cristal was involved in cross-border gaming by soliciting customers in mainland China was untrue.
The company’s operations would not be impacted in the event that it ceased to have Chau’s support, it added.
Macau’s prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Monday the group was also suspected to have used the world’s largest gambling hub as a base for an illegal “live web betting platform” in the Philippines that attracted mainland Chinese.
Some analysts say Suncity accounts for roughly a quarter of Macau’s gambling revenue.
(Reporting by Eduardo Baptista and Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Stephen Coates)Internet Explorer Channel Network