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Judge Sides With High-Stakes Poker Player

Key Evidence Against Paul Phua Is Inadmissible


A federal judge has said that the FBI’s tactics to gather evidence against a high-stakes poker player violated his privacy rights, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Wealthy Malaysian businessman Paul Phua is currently fighting charges related to illegal sports gambling on last year’s World Cup. He allegedly operated the lucrative online gambling operation out of a villa at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Phua, along with several other individuals, was arrested last summer.

Authorities posed as computer repairmen to gather evidence against Phua.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon upheld a different judge’s decision to have the evidence against Phua tossed out. The case against him remains in doubt since the evidence can’t be included in the trial, which is still scheduled to begin on June 1.

“It’s a great day for American citizens and Mr. Phua in that the rights of privacy and freedom were upheld by the court,” David Chesnoff, one of Phua’s lawyers, reportedly said on Friday.

Here’s a look at Friday’s 22-page decision:

Phua Decision

Sports betting is estimated to be a global industry producing trillions of dollars in wagers each year, but the majority of those bets are considered unauthorized. It is estimated that 65 percent of the money wagered is on soccer.