Judge Dismisses Evidence in Phua Case

Judge Dismisses Evidence in Phua Case

Monday, 20 April 2015

A judge has ruled that the FBI overstepped the mark in trying to obtain evidence against Paul Phua, the high rolling poker player and businessman from Malaysia. Phua was arrested in July 2014 following a raid on his suites inside Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

At the time he was charged with running an illegal online World Cup battle ring from the hotel and stacks of computer hard drives and equipment was seized as evidence. After an initial court hearing, Phua was detained but subsequently released and since his arrest he has been fighting charges of running an illegal gambling operation.

Despite a number of his associates, including his son Darren, pleading guilty to lesser charges, Phua senior has continued to battle against the authorities in a bid to clear his name. That decision appears to have been a wise one as the judge presiding over the case, Judge Andrew Gordon, ruled on Friday that the FBI violated its powers in an attempt to ensnare Phua.

After cutting off the internet access to his rooms, the agents then posed as maintenance men in order to gain access to the suites. After entering and taking as much evidence as possible, they later returned to arrest Phua and his friends.

However, according to Gordon, this strategy was not only illegal but one that could threaten the liberty of everyone in the US.

"Permitting the government to create the need for the occupant to invite a third party into his or her home would effectively allow the government to conduct warrantless searches of the vast majority of residences and hotel rooms in America," said Gordon.

As a result of this ruling, the FBI was forced to withdraw the evidence it had collected from Caesars, including Phua, and if it wishes to pursue the case it will have to rely on supplementary (and less convincing) evidence.

Tags: Paul Phua