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Mainland residents legally can move only $50,000 per year out of China, but the junkets advance credit well above that level to their clients. They also collect payments due within China’s old borders, where casinos can’t advertise or use the legal system to recover debts.
The U.S. State Department has repeatedly identified Macau as a jurisdiction of “primary concern” for money-laundering, largely because of the junkets.
Macau regulators have limited experience with the modern market and have yet to establish “robust oversight of junket operators” or an anti-money-laundering system “that meets international standards,” according to a March report by the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Macau requires the junkets to list their directors, but triads have grown adept at disguising their investments, just as the Mafia once did in Las Vegas.
“If criminals are employing the best attorneys and accountants and setting up more elegant ways of hiding ownership, it’s possible that Nevada won’t be able to find them easily,” Rumbolz said.
Even as Nevada has declined to crimp U.S. casinos’ behavior in Macau, federal authorities have grown more concerned about the companies’ bringing Macau cash and techniques to Las Vegas.
Junkets have advanced millions of dollars in credit from Macau to their clients’ accounts at Sands and MGM properties in Las Vegas, according to casino officials and ledgers recently exposed in a lawsuit between Sands and the fired head of its Macau operations, Steve Jacobs.
As previously reported, one of the beneficiaries of a $100,000 Sands transfer was Charles Heung Wah Keung, named in a 1992 Senate committee’s investigation as an officer of the Sun Yee On triad. [h t tp://link.reuters.com/xep53t ]