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Class action against 500.com filed

Tue, Jan 21, 1:28pm by Noah Taylor

A class action lawsuit has been filed in the United States over the 500.com Japanese bribery scandal.

Calvin Ayre reports the China-based gambling company has started to fall apart, with its chairman and CEO dumped in the wake of the scandal and it is continuing to see the gambling world turn its back to the firm.

It is now going to have to answer to a class action lawsuit, where it is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The law firm Block and Leviton LLP has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in New Jersey, asserting that 500.com committed securities fraud as a direct result of the bribery scandal.

The firm alleges that the company “concealed from investors that its executives were bribing Japanese lawmakers in order to secure development rights for a casino resort in Japan.”

It added that the public acknowledgement by the company of an internal investigation into the reported activity is enough to support the lawsuit’s claims.

Block & Leviton indicates that anyone who purchased or acquired stock in 500.com from April 27, 2018 to December 31, 2019 – the date that 500.com announced its own investigation – is eligible to participate in the lawsuit.

Attorney Mark Delaney states, “The allegations of corruption are very serious and our investigation will focus on whether illegal activity occurred which resulted in investor losses.”

If the law firm’s track record holds up, those who join the lawsuit could be looking at some bonus cash when the case wraps up.

The company asserts in its press release that it was ranked fourth among securities litigation firms by ISS for recoveries in 2017.

The firm represents many of the nation’s largest institutional investors and numerous individual investors in securities litigation throughout the country.

Indeed, its lawyers have recovered billions of dollars for its clients.

500.com continues to try to right the capsized ship and has announced that it is bringing in a law firm out of Hong Kong, King & Wood Mallesons, as its legal advisor.

The goal is to have the firm “assist with the internal investigation into the role played by the company’s former external consultants in the alleged illegal money transfers following their arrest by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor.

The gambling company is dealing with trouble on several fronts now that are going to seriously hamper its efforts in the near-term and possible long term.

In addition to the unethical bribery charges, it also failed to renew its licence in Sweden and will lose that segment if it isn’t able to find support from Swedish regulators for a late renewal.

Given the breadth of the ongoing bribery scandal, that support might be hard to find.

Japanese lawmaker indicted on fresh charges

A Japanese lawmaker who played an instrumental role in the legalisation and promotion of casino gambling has been indicted on bribery charges.

Casino News Daily reported last week that Tsukasa Akimoto, a former member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party was served with a fresh arrest warrant on Tuesday for allegedly receiving millions of yen from a Chinese gambling company to spearhead its bid to build a casino in Japan.

Akimoto was arrested on December 25 over allegations he had received cash from Chinese online sports lottery company 500.com to help it win a licence for an integrated resort with a dedicated casino floor in Hokkaido.

The lawmaker served as a senior vice minister at the Cabinet Office for about a year and was tasked with overseeing the drafting of a policy allowing for the development of up to three casino resorts in Japan.

Akimoto was indicted on changes of taking a 3 million Japanese yen bribe from 500.com advisers in his office in Tokyo in late September, 2017, when the House of Representatives he was a member of was dissolved for a snap election by Prime Minister Abe.

Along with his indictment, the disgraced lawmaker was also served with a new arrest warrant for allegedly taking more money than what the initial evidence showed.

Tokyo prosecutors served Akimoto with a fresh arrest warrant for allegedly taking an addition 2 million Japanese yen from 500.com and for admitting that the expenses for a trip worth 1.5 million Japanese yen to the gambling operator’s corporate headquarters in Shenzhen, China were, too, covered by 500.com.


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