Macau chief executive Fernando Chui Sai On has accepted Leonel Alves’ explanation regarding a payment request made by a Beijing official to Sands China Ltd. Chui announced in an official government press release that he’d accepted Alves’ explanation whilst at the same time not really giving any clarification on why he’d done so. The press release did say that Alves professed to Chui that the allegations were “baseless”, something he first brought up late last week, and all this seems to point to Sands not getting their own way in this case. For those of you that have been out of the Macau loop-the-loop for the past month or so, the allegations relate to a payment suggestion of $300 million mentioned in an email in 2009 by Alves that would apparently have secured Sands the adjacent site to the Venetian.
On the legislative side of things, the Legislative Assembly has thrown out a request for a public hearing on the increasingly strung out La Scala property saga. Macau Business reports that legislators Paul Chan Wai Chi and Ng Kuok Cheong had requested the get-together to discuss an additional land grant to the La Scala developers last year – when an investigation into a corruption case surrounding Chinese Estates was already underway. The case involving Joseph Lau Luen Hung, boss of Chinese Estates, is still ongoing with some reporting the government will take control of the site.
Bad news for the government came with the news that arrivals to the enclave have posted their largest drop since 2009. Visitor arrivals in May were down 6.5 percent year-on-year to 2.1 million and it’s the highest drop since July 2009 – when arrivals were down 15 percent. It becomes the second month so far in 2012 that posted a drop in arrivals. The number for the year so far is still 3.7 percent higher than the year previous at 11.5 million people.