Saturday, June 5, 2010

Vincent Tan donates RM525m to charity from Ascot sale

KUALA LUMPUR: Business tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan will donate to charity the entire proceeds of RM525 million accrued from the sale of his 70 per cent stake in Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd to BERJAYA CORPORATION BHD [], according to Bernama.

He is donating the entire proceeds to counter wild allegations made by some quarters that he has been unjustly enriched by the sale of the sports betting entity.

Tan said the money would be disbursed by his foundation, Better Malaysia Foundation, to provide scholarships, finance poor students as well as fund medical assistance.

"It has also been insinuated that in the process, some government officials and political parties have also benefited. None of this is true," he said at a press conference here Saturday, June 5.

Also present was his son, Datuk Robin Tan, the Chief Executive Officer of Berjaya Corporation.

He also took to task opposition political parties and those critical of the move to legalise sports betting when they very well know that billions of ringgit were lost through such means.

Tan estimated that illegal sports betting in Malaysia amounted to a staggering RM20 to RM30 billion annually.

By legalising it, he said the government would be able to receive an estimated annual revenue of between RM1 billion and RM3 billion, a move which would help partly compensate government coffers, if and when, subsidies are reduced or removed.

He said illegal sports bookies were in cohorts with illegal money lenders or "Alongs" which led many Malaysians to sink into deep debts.

In contrast, in legal sports betting, punters would have to pay cash and no credit would be involved.

On opposition states Selangor, Penang and Kedah which have declared they would not allow sports betting, Tan said Berjaya Corp would appeal to the state governments to reverse their decision taking into account that rampant illegal sports betting was doing much damage to the country.

He said Berjaya Corporation would be able to start operations in September through 220 Sports Toto outlets. Sports Toto has a total of 680 outlets in the country.

Asked how the RM525 million sales figure was arrived at for Ascot Sports, he said it was based on an achieveable profit guarantee of RM125 million per year which amounted to RM375 million for three years plus a net price earnings ratio of six times.

"I get zero sen from this," said Tan.

Asked whether he would sue a "fugitive blogger" for making such wild allegations that he was enriching himself from the deal and that government officials had benefited from the deal, he said: "No point (in suing them), we will be wasting our time, they most probably will be bankrupt."

He also said the board of trustees for the foundation included Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, Tan Sri Paduka Dr Saleha Mohamed Ali, Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Din, Robin and himself. - Bernama

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