Saturday May 30,2015 : PHUA ILLEGAL SPORTSBETTING CASE LATEST (Update)
Prosecution mulls an appeal on tainted evidence ruling; Phua may take a break to be with sick mother.
Federal prosecutors again appeared to be at sixes and sevens this week following the latest ruling by Nevada District Judge Andrew Gordon that they cannot adduce evidence of illegal sportsbetting by Malaysian high roller Paul Phua because it is tainted by questionable FBI tactics in obtaining it
In the latest developments in a Las Vegas case that goes back to last year's World Cup football championships, when Phua and seven associates were busted in luxury suites at Caesars Palace, this week saw prosecutors miss the Friday deadline set by Judge Gordon requiring them to decide on their next move in the state's thus far unsuccessful pursuit of Phua.
They also initially opposed a Phua request that he be permitted to temporarily leave the USA to visit his mother, who has not seen him for a year and has cancer.
Prosecutors claimed that his visa was invalid and this would prevent his reentry to the US, a possibility ridiculed by the defence team, which pointed out that as a powerful government entity the Department of Justice is in a position to negotiate a reentry, whereupon the prosecution dropped its objection.
According to a Bloomberg report, prosecutors are still undecided on the question of another appeal, this time against Judge Gordon's ruling that the FBI evidence was tainted and inadmissible.
They have acknowledged that there has been a "significant change in circumstances", but claim that it could take weeks to decide whether to launch an appeal.
U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said through a spokeswoman that it could take several weeks for a decision whether to ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to take the case.
"As a result, the government will not have a decision regarding an appeal by Monday," the spokesperson said.
Phua has given an assurance that he remains committed to appearing in court and clearing his name, and to this end he has guaranteed that he will return after visiting his mother. His legal representative said Friday:
“Mr. Phua is not looking to flee; he seeks to prove his innocence and to restore his reputation. Indeed, Mr. Phua has litigated this case even though refusing to plead has separated him from his life and his family for an extended period of time.”
Phua has also retracted his earlier proposal to leave his $48-million private jet behind as collateral, saying that further delays of up to a year as a result of a prosecution appeal would cause “significant inconvenience and economic harm,” if the aircraft remained locked up in the United States..
Judge Gordon has not yet ruled on Phua’s request to leave the country.
Legal observers have speculated that the government may also seek to use against Phua the plea bargain deals accepted by the Malaysian millionaire’s Asian associates in order to be allowed to leave the country. These involved hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and forfeitures, and included bans on returning to the United States for five years.
Meanwhile, the court docket actually dealing with the felonies Phua is alleged to have committed – tainted evidence and all – remains on the June 15 court roll.