Crown says employees detained in China have been charged

Casino operator Crown Resorts says its employees who were detained in China past year have been formally charged with illegally promoting gambling.

Chinese authorities have referred the cases to the Baoshan District Court, the biggest listed casino firm outside China said in a statement.

The company did not specify the charges or the exact number of staff who had been charged. The company confirmed on Tuesday that the 15 employees based in China and detained at the same time in r four Chinese cities had also been charged.

The illegal promotion of gambling carries with it a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, but a Chinese source told The Australian late last year it was more likely the employees would face a 16 month jail term if found guilty.

The Australian Financial Review has learnt that informal discussions between Crown's lawyers and the court have been held and they are tentatively working towards a trial date by the end of this month, rather than the usual waiting period of between two and three months.

Eighteen staff were arrested in Shanghai after police raids across China last October.

Gambling is illegal in China (government-run lotteries excluded) except in the special administrative districts of Hong Kong and Macau.

Crown initially said a year ago that 18 had been detained.

  • Zachary Reyes