7 Aug 2013

Samoa Gambling authority withdraws casino license for Chinese group

7:47 am on 7 August 2013

The Samoa Gambling Control Authority says it has withdrawn a casino license for a Chinese business group who were planning to build a 500 room hotel with a casino in the country.

The Authority says leaving the license open for the Exhibition Tourism Group, or ETG was too difficult and untenable.

In a statement, it says its decision follows events concerning allegations against the chairman of ETG that have been well publicized in various media outlets recently.

ETG's Chairman Deng Hong is being investigated for corruption by Communist Party officials over land deals.

The Gambling Control Authority says the ETG were not able to confirm when the issues concerning its chairman were likely to be resolved, ultimately affecting the Authority's ability to properly negotiate any license with the company.

It also added that ETG are not able to fulfill the conditions and legal requirements for the issuing of a full license.

ETG sent a delegation to Samoa last year to explore its business interest and meet with the tourism industry.

In May of this year, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi had said there was nothing to be alarmed after reports of Deng Hong being in police custody in Beijing.