Hong Kong police charged a prominent figure in Macau's casino junket industry with laundering 1.8 billion Hong Kong dollars ($231 million) through bank accounts in the southern Chinese city.

Cheung Chi-tai is facing three separate counts of money laundering, according to a charge sheet.

The businessman was a major investor in publicly traded Macau junket operator Neptune Group. He's also alleged to have ties to Chinese organized criminal gangs, known as triads.

The 54-year-old was named as a triad leader in a 1992 U.S. Senate subcommittee report and in recent Hong Kong court cases.

Junkets are middlemen that arrange for wealthy mainland Chinese gamblers to travel to Macau and lend them money to gamble.

The former Portuguese colony is the only place in China where casinos are legal.