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Phua walks free from court

Former Macau junket operator Paul Phua walked free from court and will be reunited with his $48 million private jet and passport after a Las Vegas judge dismissed an illegal gambling case against him on the back of constitutional violations.

The judge’s verdict closes a high profile case that began since Phua, 51, was arrested during a raid on a series of luxury villas at the Caesars Palace resort last July and charged with illegal gaming and conspiracy.

The raid by federal agents, who posed as Internet repairmen to get inside the villas, provided prosecutors with a wealth of materials allegedly linking Phua to an online Brazil World Cup betting scheme worth millions of dollars.

But, last week US District Judge Andrew Gordon threw the bulk of the evidence out on the basis that the search warrant for the raid was flawed due to errors and omissions by the US authorities and that Phua had his privacy rights violated by the FBI agents.

Defence counsel Thomas Goldstein said Phua’s “faith in the American justice system was completely vindicated,” the South China Morning Post reported.

“Paul Phua stayed in the United States to defeat these charges because he was innocent and because the government’s misconduct made the case even more unjust,” Goldstein said.

Phua was the last remaining defendant in the case after six others, including his son, took plea deals in March.

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