Malaysian businessman pleads not guilty in new gambling case

Wealthy Malaysian businessman Paul Phua pleaded not guilty in federal court Wednesday to felony charges contained in a new gambling indictment against him.

The indictment added a conspiracy charge to previous counts of operating an illegal gambling business and transmission of wagering information.

The charges stem from an FBI-led raid July 9 at three luxury Caesars Palace villas used in what authorities said was a worldwide multimillion-dollar betting operation.

Phua, 51, a Strip high roller and poker player worth hundreds of millions of dollars, was among eight defendants from Malaysia and China charged in the betting scheme alleged to have accepted illegal wagers on last year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Six defendants, including Phua’s son Darren, pleaded guilty and were each fined and sentenced to five years of probation with the condition they stay out of the United States during that period. The case against a seventh defendant was dismissed.

Phua, who is free on his own recognizance, is to stand trial before U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon on June 1.

Contact Jeff German at or 702-380-8135. Find him on Twitter: @JGermanRJ

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