Macau minister accused of taking casino bribes

In the biggest corruption trial in the history of Macau, a former government minister is accused of taking bribes worth millions of dollars to speed up the construction of casinos on the island.

Ao Man-long, the former secretary for transport and public works, was arrested last December and faces a mountain of corruption charges (76 in all), including taking bribes, money-laundering and abuse of power.

As yet, Mr Ao has not yet entered a plea and has called the charges “confusing”.

Mr Ao, who worked for the government for seven years, is alleged to have taken bribes amounting to $100 million – approximately 57 times his income. After raids on his home, officers found bundles of cash, luxury watches, vintage wine and cigars.

Macau, which is the only place in China to gamble legally, has enjoyed a massive casino boom and recently overtaken Las Vegas as the number one gambling destination in the world in terms of revenue. It has attracted massive foreign investment since the Stanley Ho’s monopoly was broken up, with all the big casino companies wanting their slice of the pie.

Mr Ao’s trial is set to last a month and involve 100 witnesses.

Editor, - 2007-11-06 11:28:07

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