June 26, 2017 / 4:48 AM / 2 months ago

China hands Crown Resorts employees short jail terms - official

The logo of Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd adorns the hotel and casino complex in Melbourne, Australia, June 13, 2017.Jason Reed

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A Chinese court sentenced three Australian employees of casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd (CWN.AX) to short jail terms on Monday, an Australian diplomat said, but they will have little time left to serve as the sentences run from the date of their detention last October.

The embassy official said Crown's head of international VIP gambling Jason O'Connor was given a ten month sentence, while two other Australians were handed nine month sentences.

The ruling is a major step towards closing a case that has forced Melbourne-based Crown to abandon its strategy of luring Chinese high rollers to the casino hub of Macau and instead shift its focus back home.

Reporting by Engen Tham and Winni Zhou; Writing by Adam Jourdan and David Stanway; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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