Chinese millionaire embroiled in junket scandal sells up
A Chinese millionaire with links to a Chinese communist group is selling his waterfront Hunters Hill mansion from behind bars.
News.com.au reports that high roller Xiongming Xie, identified as one of Crown Casino’s controversial high roller Chinese ‘junket’ organisers is offloading his mansion as he languishes behind bars in a New South Wales country jail, facing ongoing criminal proceedings.
Located on Bnnefin Road – one of Hunters Hill’s premiere streets – the luxury five-bedroom home is owned by a man with links to Huang Xiangmo, the communist-aligned political donor expelled from Australia by the federal government for being an ‘agent of influence’.
The property is set to go to auction on November 27, with a $4.85 million price tag.
He has been held under remand at Bathurst Correctional Centre since July and is due to return to court on December 19 on charges he threatened a man with a knife and demanded the transfer for a $10 million property.
Mr Xie’s lawyers commented to The Daily Telegraph that he strongly denies the allegations and will be “defending them vigorously”.
Mr Xie’s sprawling estate is a far from his currenet accommodation.
The mysterious gambler, who owners another property in Galston, won’t have happy memories of Hunters Hill, after surviving a stabbing attack in front of the house in June 2016, when he and his driver were set upon by two unknown men of Asian appearance.
Mr Xie was seriously wounded in the attack and spent three weeks in hospital, with the perpetrators still at large.
The house is being sold on his behalf by his legal team at McAneny Layers through McGrath Hunter Hill’s Tracey Dixon, who declined to comment.
Crown and Melco sale payment stalls
Billionaire casino owner James Packer is unlikely to receive a second $880 million windfall from the sale of a major stake in Crown Resorts before Christmas, if it goes ahead at all, with a government investigation into the sale and other probity issues at the casino expected to stretch into the New Year.
Sydney Morning Herald reports from last week reveal that the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority released terms of reference into its inquiry into whether Crown should keep its Barangaroo casino licence, and if Hong Kong casino group Melco Resorts should be allowed to invest in Crown.
The gambling regulator launched its inquiry following revelations by multiple media outlets that Crown went into business with junket tour operators backed by powerful Asian crime gangs and Chinese foreign influence agents.
Mr Packer agreed to sell a 20 per cent stake in Crown – almost half of his investment in the company – to Hong Kong casino tycoon Lawrence Ho’s Melco Resorts for $1.7 billion in May, with Mr Ho signalling at the time he was interested in making a full takeover for Crown.
Last week, Mr Packer and Melco said they would wait for former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin to complete the ILGA inquiry before proceeding with the second half of the share sale.
The first $880 million tranche went through in June and the remainder was to be sold by the end of September.
ILGA has not set a time frame for the inquiry, which has powers similar to a royal commission, other than to say it will report back to the authority “as soon as reasonably practicable”.
Sources familiar with the administration of New South Wales gaming regulation anticipated the inquiry would take at least four months to complete.
Closer to six months was likely, the sources said, with the potential for it to stretch even longer if it uncovered information it found concerning and requiring deeper investigation.
Crown and Melco have said they would cooperate fully with the inquiry.
Melco and Mr Packer’s revised sale terms also say the sale will not go ahead until gambling regulators in all states Crown has casino licences – Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia – write to Melco confirming it is a “suitable person” to be associated with running a casino.