World Class Poker Players Speak Out for Indicted Online Gambling Suspects
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Paul Phua Wei-seng, Asian gambling kingpin, and those connected to him have been accused in Las Vegas of running an illegal gambling ring during the World Cup. The indictment says that the defendants ran an illegal operation that took bets for the World Cup in Brazil between June 6th to July 13th.

However, two lead poker stars, Andrew Robl and Phil Ivey, paid their bail and expressed unity about helping the detained men to get out of jail.

A grand jury in Las Vegas indicted Paul Phua, 50, and Darren Phua Wai-kit, 22. Additionally, Richard Yong Seng-chen, 56, and his son were charged. Another three men and one woman, were indicted for allegedly operating an international gambling scheme that was worth billions of dollars. However, their attorneys have vowed to fight the accusations.

Phil Ivey, who is one of the most well-balanced poker players in the world, gave $500,000 to help release Phua. Andrew Robl, a professional poker player from Michigan, helped with the remaining $1.5 million.

In addition to helping with Paul Phua, court documents reveal Ivey also posted $500,000 to help Phua’s son and Yong and his son. Phil Ivey spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal saying that he held them in the highest regard. In addition to the two poker stars who posted their bail, World Series of Poker champion John Juanda said the elder Yong was a man of honor and high integrity while writing a letter to the court. Juanda went on to say that Yong is a family man who is loved by everyone and that he had known him for five years.

On July 13th, FBI agents arrested the eight accused of operating an illegal gambling ring. Online poker champion Tom Dwan was with Paul Phua when the arrest took place. The police raid occurred at three exclusive villas on the strip when authorities were tipped off about the operation.

However, when the Post requested comment, Dwan, Juanda, Robl and Ivey did not respond. 

Yong and Phua are considered high rollers in poker circles from Monte Carlo to Macau. Based out of the Philippines, Paul Phua is considered the lead figure behind the online betting website IBCBet. On July 14, a month before being arrested in Las Vegas, police arrested Phua and 20 other people in his suite at the Wynn Hotel in Macau. The charges were of operating an illegal gambling ring promotion to illegal gambling that made hundreds of millions of dollars from illegal bets for the World Cup. During the raid, more than five billion Hong Kong dollars were seized. After being released on bail, Phua left the territory.

Prosecutors have tried to say Phua is a high-ranked member of the 14k triad, a charge that David Chesnoff, Phua’s defense lawyer has ardently denied. US immigration and Customs Enforcement officials stated that they went back over the Phuas’ case and stopped a hold that would keep them in jail even after posting bail. Federal prosecutors say Richard Yong, also known well for the professional poker circuit, was the head kingpin for the betting operation.

Originally, it did not look likely that authorities would let Phua post bail because of his reported ties to Asian crime syndicates, and he was deemed a flight risk, having been in a similar situation in Macau.

Phua and his son might be released, but senior officials have stated that the investigation continues. The Phua family will have to give their accounts in court; however, both men are said to be eager to clear their names. David Chesnoff highlighted this point when he told reporters that they are grateful his clients were set free, and they look forward to revealing their side of the story in court.

Being the owner of a $48 million private jet, Paul Phua Wei-seng has a lot of money. Phua’s roots are from a small beach town in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. He was one of the first to see the potential of Internet gambling and helped to pioneer the online gambling industry. Phua made his first international appearance in 2005; his company, Sat Leng Sociodade Unipessoal, started creating junkets for the Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. After the sale of Sat Leng, Paul Phua became an obscure figure until he held shares for another junket, Star 888. However, the news of Paul Phua’s arrest, MGM China asked Macau to cancel Phua’s Star 888 license.

What led to the arrest of the eight gambling suspects? The police suspected this operation after they saw computers with multiple screens showing World Cup soccer games. Until the August 4th hearing, Paul Phua is staying with gynaecologist and poker enthusiast Craig Hartman.