Casino group under probe

Singapore’s casino regulators have confirmed that they are continuing to seek “clarification” from the Genting group over its links with Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho.

The 84-year-old has been associated with the Chinese underworld, although nothing has ever been proven against him.

It is believed that the authorities have been putting pressure on Genting since news broke last month that its cruise company Star Cruises had struck a deal with Ho, offering him and a group of investors 6.99% of its shares.

Star Cruises, the world’s third-largest cruise line operator, holds a 25% stake in the Sentosa integrated resort (IR).

It won the tender for the IR along with sister company Genting International after a two-year contest.

A Home Affairs statement said: “The Casino Regulation Division is seeking clarification from Star Cruises/ Genting International about the share placement and other deals in Macau.”

Earlier this month, the IR’s assistant communications director, Jackson Loy, said that Ho would not have any stake in the resort.

Genting International, the 75% majority stakeholder in Resorts World at Sentosa, appears to have been dragged into the regulator’s checks, despite having no direct involvement in the deal.

Analysts said they were not surprised the authorities had decided to take a closer look, in the light of ongoing investigations by New Jersey regulators into the MGM group.

The group had tied up with Ho’s daughter, Pansy, to build a casino in Macau.

One adviser, who did not want to be named, said the Singapore Government would go into overdrive to protect the country’s “squeaky clean” brand name.

No concrete evidence of wrongdoing has ever been produced against Ho, but at his Lisboa Casino in Macau, the prostitutes who ply the corridors have become a tourist attraction.

Other reports have also claimed that triads operate in his private gaming rooms, where loan-sharking and money laundering allegedly take place.

Genting on Friday said in a statement: “We are providing clarifications to the matters sought by the Casino Regulatory Division.”