OKBet Infinity Inc, a flagship online gaming and junket operator, has halted its operations along and shut down its VIP rooms in the Philippines without prior notice.
Decision made by the Board of Directors:
A statement from the firm, which trades as OKBet VIP Club, seen by Inside Asian Gaming states: “Our Board of Directors had determined to cease all operations as of the end of business hours on 15 August 2023 and was currently making necessary arrangements regarding guest/patron accounts. These preparations would be finalized on or before 31 August 2023.”
The company, allegedly headquartered in Hong Kong, operated many VIP rooms in many IRs in the Philippines, involving Newport World Resorts, Okada Manila, Hann Casino Resort, NUSTAR and City of Dreams Manila, where it provided proxy wagering and land-based junket services. In addition, many of these properties have verified to IAG that OKBet has indeed recently shut down its rooms. However, IAG knows that there was a spate of withdrawals earlier this week when players queued up at the said operator’s VIP rooms in Manila seeking to withdrew their funds. On that note, in a statement, OKBet said: “Our Okada office will remain open to address any inquiries. Our aim is to ensure a seamless withdrawal of funds for all our valued patrons.”
Reasons for sudden closure:
Even though the firm did not reveal the reasons for this unexpected closure, according to the source the events “are related to the arrest this week of 10 people in Singapore for alleged involvement in forgery, money laundering and resistance to lawful apprehension.”
In this regard, when the arrests were made, the Singapore Police Force commented: “The arrests were made after it received information of possible illicit activities including the use of suspected forged documents that were used to substantiate the source of funds in Singapore bank accounts. Through extensive investigations and follow-up from intelligence – including the analysis of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) – the Police identified a group of foreign nationals suspected to be involved in laundering the proceeds of crime from their overseas organised crime activities including scams and online gambling.”
Of the 10 individuals arrested, none of them were a Singaporian Citizen or the Permanent Resident and their ages ranged between 31 and 44. Additionally, when looking in their nationalities there were 3 from Cambodia, 3 from China, 2 from Cyprus one from Turkey and one from Vanuatu and all were male except for one Chinese national. However, a further 12 are said to be helping police with their investigation and another 8 are still on the run from police.
Relatedly, a statement from the aforementioned Singapore Police Force, stated: “The group’s combined assets total more than SG$1 billion, including 94 properties and 50 vehicles with an estimated value of SG$815 million and against which prohibition of disposal orders have been issued. Police also seized more than 35 related bank accounts with a total estimated balance of more than SG$110 million, plus cash, electronics and luxury goods.” In this regard, an unconfirmed IAG source said: “Seizures included SG$23 million in cash in various currencies, over 120 electronic devices, 250 designer watches and handbags, 270 pieces of jewelry, two gold bars and 11 virtual assets.”
There were also assertations that one of those detained was “OKBet’s top executive,“ but this needs to be verified. Additionally, IAG contacted the Singapore Gambling Regulatory Authority and PAGCOR to provide their comments on the situation.
Source: Read Full Article