Posts Tagged ‘China corruption’

Macau losing streak ends with new Wynn

September 13, 2016

For the first time in more than two years, Macau’s gaming revenue rose in August following the open of Wynn Palace in Cotai. Insiders debate whether the events are linked.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes, editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

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Bo Xilai rises again

August 25, 2013

Bo Xilai’s dramatic ouster in March 2012 followed by last November’s anti-corruption pageant at the Communist Party Conference suggested that the disgraced leadership contender would be a whipping boy for the incoming Xi Jinping regime. Then, just as abruptly as he fell from power, Bo disappeared from the public eye, not just held in detention, but erased from the national discussion. It seemed that China’s new leadership team wanted to bury Bo and his saga that includes the murder of British citizen Neil Heywood and millions in misappropriated funds.

Suddenly, this week Bo was back in the spotlight. His show trial displays Bo at this iconoclastic best (or worst), apparently refusing to stick to the script of self-criticism and regret that his wife and police chief follow in exchange for relatively lenient sentences. Wherever the trial is heading, Bo seems determined not to go there quietly. Why the leadership opted to give Bo this platform to vent is hard to understand.

As I wrote in Asia Times months ago, it’s foolish to speculate on the behind the scenes machinations of Beijing’s top leadership. But it is worth watching how Bo’s trial turns out, the official line that emerges, and then look backward to try figuring out the Xi team’s motivation for giving Bo a final (?) star turn. It may simply be that China’s political system reached the stage of development where August is the silly season there, too.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Macau bribe tale winds toward Beijing, Vegas

July 18, 2012

Last month, just after the great and good of the casino industry gathered for Global Gaming Expo Asia in Macau, the Wall Street Journal showcased the world casino capital’s shady side. The newspaper reported that Macau lawyer and legislator Leonel Alves passed along a $300 million bribe request to casino operator Sands China from a “high ranking” Beijing official.

I wrote that the report raises more questions than it answers. Among other things, I suggested the Beijing angle on the bribe could be camouflage for local graft; Alves, who’s been all over the place in his explanations, said in a recent radio interview that there was a Macau developer involved. My Asia Times article also suggested potential legal troubles for Sands China and parent company Las Vegas Sands stemming from the incident, even though it’s clear that the proposed bribe was not paid.

Answers are emerging thanks to a ProPublica investigation of Alves and his relationship with Sands China. The probe leads straight to Sands China chairman, Las Vegas Sands founder and my press conference pal, Sheldon Adelson, a key Republican and Likud Party benefactor. Stay tuned.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com, follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.


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