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The Macau Metro Monitor, March 7, 2012

MACAU CASINO SUED IN LAW FIRM THEFT CASE South China Morning Post

An international law firm founded by Bill Gates' father, K&L Gates, has filed a writ at the High Court against MPEL.  The firm is seeking a court order to find out how much of MPEL's property represents money that ex-employee of K&L Gates, Navin Kumar Aggarwal, took, or his net winnings, or both, and to have MPEL pay what it owes.  K&L Gates claims that Aggarwal transferred at least HK$34 million from the client accounts to Melco and gambled with that money and other funds.  He made a net loss of at least HK$9.9 million.  K&L Gates also says MPEL received the misappropriated money knowing it was not entitled to do so, that the money did not belong to Aggarwal and that the former partner had a history as an unsuccessful gambler, among other things.

The filing says Aggarwal took millions of dollars from the escrow accounts of clients, including those four parties.  Four clients had been repaid a total of HK$117 million, the writ said.  The clients are Hui Kau-mo, Mark Lightbown, Golden Bridge United Holdings Group (HK), and Laxmi Niwas Jhunjhunwala.   

Initially the figure involved was put at HK$16.6 million. Prosecutors later revised it to HK$780 million.  The criminal case is scheduled for a brief hearing on April 2 at Eastern Court.

GAMING REVENUE GROWTH TO DROP IN 2012, SAYS GOV'T Macau Business

Macau's secretary for economy and finance, Francis Tam Pak Yuen, says Macau GGR growth is expected to be up only 'low double-digts or high single-digits' in 2012.  Macau government estimates regarding the growth of the casino industry are traditionally very conservative.

Taking into account the expected revenue from direct taxes from gaming included in the 2012 government budget, presented in November last year, that would actually mean a contraction of the sector, opposing the general view among industry players and analysts.