One of the famous Chinese Sports Lottery Operator 500.com has got into big trouble in the Japanese Political sphere. The operator is now of the accused participant in a Japanese Political scandal of illegal money transfer.
On Tuesday, Japanese Police raided the office of the Chinese Sports Lottery Operator 500.com as per the local media. The raid was linked to a bid to develop an integrated resort in the Hokkaido region. The Japanese Media didn’t mention the name of the company, however, provide some key details. The media report suggested that the company was set up somewhere in 2001. The company was also listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2013. It has also been reported that the company is involved in the Chinese Online Sports Lottery Sector. Well, it was easy to connect the dots to come to conclusion to understand that the company is 500.com. Calvinayre reported that 500.com actually teamed up with a local partner to bid for an integrated resort in Hokkaido.
However, Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki said this month earlier that they are not interested to host one of the three integrated resorts planned by the Japanese Government.
The news came after the Japanese Media reported an incident where the Police raided homes two former close aides of Tsukasa Akimoto.
Akimoto is a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Both of the aides are accused of smuggling a huge amount of cash without disclosing the currency to the customs officials. This has created a political uproar in Japan. It has been reported that two of them brought undeclared cash of ¥1m (US$9,130). This is a direct violation of the Foreign Exchange Act of Japan.
Akimoto was in-charge of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism till last September. He was also one of the key figures for the much-anticipated Casino industry of Japan. He has however denied any wrongdoings and knowledge of his former aides’ activities of smuggling cash into the country.
However, things now have turned dramatically as the investigation has progressed. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has now reportedly launched an investigation to verify whether the money brought by Akimoto’s aides is of the Chinese Firm 500.com. It has been reported that the investigation has revealed there is strong evidence that this Chinese Firm is involved with the aides of Akimoto. The reports also suggest that money was probably an attempt to get some undue favors in the bid for the integrated resorts. However, none of these reports are confirmed and cannot be individually verified.
If the history of Chinese Firm 500.com is observed then it can be found out that they have been financially struggling since 2015. In 2015, China suspended all the lottery sales after rampant fraud and corruption by the provincial lottery administrators were unearthed. Since then, the company has diversified into land-based lottery contracts. It has also acquired European-facing online casino operations to float in the industry. However, the company was never involved in any land-based casino business. In fact, the attempt to get into the land-based casino was made in the Hokkaido region which has now turned the investigation on them.