San Jose's Casino M8trix accused of hiding millions in profit

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The state attorney general has accused San Jose?s Casino M8trix of siphoning profits to shell companies to avoid paying taxes. (KGO)

San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo said Wednesday that Casino M8trix cardroom has hidden tens of millions in profits and he called for the city to close the club down if it does not pay millions Liccardo said it owes under city agreements.

Liccardo, who held a news conference outside San Jose City Hall, claims that an investigation by the California Attorney General into Casino M8trix concluded its operators engaged in a "shell game" to hide $66.5 million in profits from taxation and regulatory oversight.

The attorney general's office has sought to revoke Casino M8trix's gaming license and the city should do the same, Liccardo said in a printed statement.

Liccardo said that Casino M8trix did not make required annual payments equal to 5.15 percent of its gross profits, or at least $125,000, to the Asian Americans of Community Involvement to fund gambling addiction programs as required under a 2009 pact with the city.

"The California Attorney General charged that for many years, M8trix reported little or no profits," Liccardo said in the statement.

The attorney general's office alleged that the cardroom moved profits into shell companies, such as $14 million to Profitable Casino LLC, owned by Casino M8trix owner Eric Swallow; $14 million in to Potere LLC, owned by cardroom business partner Peter Lunardi; and $38.5 million to Dochee LLC owned the Swallow Family Trust.

Liccardo said he will ask the San Jose City Auditor and the San Jose Police Chief to investigate any underpayments of city cardroom taxes by Casino M8trix.

The councilman, who is running for mayor of San Jose in the June 3 primary election, said he also wants the city to halt consideration of proposed changes by Casino M8trix and the Bay 101 card club to relax city regulations on gaming businesses.

In response, Casino M8trix spokesman Sean Kali-Rai said that the cardroom "believes the charges are unfounded and the legal process will show that is the case."

"I don't know what Mr. Liccardo will ask for" at the news conference, Kali-Rai said. "I guess he is running for mayor."

Liccardo's news conference will be at the Fourth Street entrance to San Jose City Hall, located at 200 E. Santa Clara St.

Michele Lew, executive director Asian Americans of Community Involvement, will join Liccardo at the conference.
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