Taiwan busts US$462M underground bank, money laundering and gambling operation that allegedly influenced elections

By Christine Duhaime | December 27th, 2019

The police in Chiayi, Taiwan, shut down an underground banking operation and international gambling syndicate allegedly used to influence municipal and federal election results.

The underground bank moved US$462 million from China to Taiwan in ways that are designed to circumvent the laws in China that control currency conversions and exports.

Arrested were Hsiao and Lai, who were described as real estate developers in Taiwan. Lai fled to the Philippines. A co-accused, Wu, who had been arrested months earlier, was the alleged operator of the underground bank. They are charged with violations of the federal Bank Act, money laundering and illegal gambling.

Police seized diamonds, including one diamond worth US$200,000, over 200 cell phones, 200 USB drives, luxury cars and over US$200,000 in cash.

Promissory notes and cash seized (Source: Chiayi Police)

According to prosecutors, a witness came forward and said that the same gambling pools and syndicate were in place to bet the outcome of the current president of Taiwan and appear to be a method to influence the outcome of elections.

Allegedly, according to the witness, the way it works to influence election outcomes is that the house, as that term is used in gambling and casinos environments, pays unreasonably high returns to betters which encourages them to persuade family and friends to vote for a certain candidate that the house is backing so that the candidate beats the spread, wins the election and each better is in the money. The witness alleged that it was gambling pools backed by money from China that helped direct the outcome of the election.

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