S'porean charged with cheating Manila casino

S'porean charged with cheating Manila casino
A police report has also been filed against Dominic Sim in Singapore, alleging that he cheated a Thai group over an investment.

A 37-Year-old Singaporean has been charged in the Philippines after he allegedly tried to cheat a casino of US$30 million (S$40.3 million) in gambling chips using a fake telegraphic transfer.

Dominic Sim is believed to have got $8 million worth of gambling chips from Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila in February last year - $3 million of which the casino has since managed to recover.

Sim, the chief executive of Singapore-based Bullion Investment Group, may also be in trouble here.

A representative for 16 investors from Thailand filed a police report last week alleging that he cheated them over an investment they made of more than $600,000.

A Solaire Resort and Casino representative told The Straits Times yesterday that Sim was a junket operator who first partnered the casino in 2013. Such operators are middlemen who bring high-stakes gamblers to casinos for a fee.

He also bought chips from the casino to pass on to the gamblers. The chips cannot be bought on credit, so Sim allegedly used a fraudulent transfer in a bid to trick the casino into releasing US$30 million worth of chips to him.

The casino issued him $8 million worth of chips at first. It has since retrieved $3 million worth after finding out that it never got the money Sim purportedly paid.

"We did not report the matter to the police immediately as he said he would return the money, and we wanted to give him a chance," the representative said. "We have terminated our partnership with Bullion."

The casino eventually made a police report, and Sim was arrested on April 21. He was charged on May 14. He is currently out on bail but is not allowed to leave the Philippines. A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said the Singapore Embassy in Manila and the ministry are in touch with Sim and his family and will continue to provide consular assistance.

Meanwhile, a Thai national who wanted to be known only as Mr Tanainan travelled to Singapore last week to file a police report, alleging that his clients had been cheated by Sim.

Mr Tanainan, 31, who runs an investment academy in Thailand, had advised his clients to invest in Bullion after coming across it during an investment fair held here two years ago.

Investors would put money with Bullion as capital to play against gamblers in the casino. Returns of as much as 100 per cent were promised, he said.

Since February last year, his clients had put in $642,000 in all. Returns started being delayed in October and dried up in January.

"I am very upset about this because I recommended people to invest in Bullion and they trusted me. My reputation is also affected now," he said.

Attempts to reach Sim's family members were unsuccessful. When The Straits Times visited the Bullion office in Beach Road during office hours yesterday, it was closed. An employee in the same building, who declined to be named, said the office had been vacant since last month.

The Straits Times understands that an employee is suing Sim for not paying his salary of $6,000 for the last four months.



This article was first published on May 27, 2015.
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