Singapore

Businessman fails in bid to void $5.9m in casino debt

Malaysian claimed he was intoxicated when he signed credit deals with RWS

A Malaysian businessman who blew $10 million in credit within three days at the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) casino and settled nearly half the debt has failed in his court bid to void the outstanding $5.9 million.

The High Court rejected Mr Lee Fook Kheun's claim that he was intoxicated when he inked the credit deals, which he also argued were invalid as RWS had failed to comply with the Casino Control Regulations. He had sought to have monies paid returned to him.

"Mr Lee has not proved on the balance of probabilities that he was so intoxicated that he failed to understand the nature and effect of the Credit Agreements," said Justice Valerie Thean in judgment grounds last week.

"Even if this were not so, he has not rescinded the agreements; indeed his delay and conduct have affirmed them," she added.

The judge was also not convinced by his claims, following the 13-day hearing spread over several months earlier this year, noting RWS had complied with statutory requirements in conducting the necessary background creditworthiness checks on Mr Lee.

EMBARRASS

The court, among other things, heard he signed a settlement deal in January 2015 with RWS because a lawsuit would embarrass the 67-year-old, who was a director and shareholder of various construction companies.

He first visited RWS in July 2010 with the prospect of opening a seafood restaurant, and later became a casino premium member who rolled at its high-limit gaming area.

He was issued $5 million worth of gambling chips when he visited the casino on Aug 20, 2010 and obtained a further $5 million in gambling chips on Aug 22. The total sum was fully drawn down and RWS pursued the debt several months later when he failed to repay despite being notified.

In January 2015, he signed a settlement agreement acknowledging the $10 million debt and continued with payments until August.

He had paid $4,067,287 between Aug 23, 2010 and Aug 21, 2015, and with "Genting points" of $2,118 deducted, he still owed $5,930,595.

His lawyers Michael Palmer and Reuben Tan argued that being intoxicated at the time, he did not understand the nature of what he had signed. They added that the deal was void as Mr Lee did not seek the credit recommended by the casino staff.

RWS' lawyers, Senior Counsel N. Sreenivasan and A. Shankar, said Mr Lee lacked credibility in his claims based on inconsistencies in his evidence.

COURT & CRIME