Australia expands money laundering survey to casinos

SkyCity Casino Adelaide

SkyCity Casino in Adelaide, Australia

Australia is expanding its casino investigations for possible violations of money laundering legislation.

Owners of major casinos in Australia’s five largest cities are currently undergoing formal investigation.

Includes National Australia Bank (NAB) and casino operators Crown Resorts, Star Entertainment Group and Skycity Entertainment Group.

The investigation is being conducted by anti-money laundering regulators.

Crown has already been investigated for potential infringements at Melbourne’s casinos, but Perth’s casinos are now being scrutinized.

A groundbreaking study earlier this year found that the company was not eligible to hold a gaming license in New South Wales, costing A $ 2.2 billion (£ 1.2 billion; $ 1.7 billion). Could not open such a newly built Sydney casino.

According to a study, Crown “promotes money laundering, puts staff at risk of being detained in foreign jurisdiction, and pursues commercial relationships with individuals,” related to criminal groups in casinos in other cities in Australia. Was.

The commissioner of the investigation suggested a review of the company’s governance, starting with the removal of most of the board.

For years, Crown has been plagued by allegations of illegal activity in casinos. Among them is the spread of money laundering and junkets for Chinese high roller gamblers associated with organized crime groups.

Star Entertainment Group, which operates the only casino in Sydney, is also currently under investigation for alleged violations of customer due diligence law.

This could jeopardize a $ 7 billion offer to buy rival Crown Resorts, which has taken takeover defenses in the face of alleged money laundering.

New Zealand-based Sky City, which operates a casino in Australia, said it may lack control over customers identified by regulators as “high risk and politically endangered.” He said he was investigating a business in Adelaide.

NAB said the investigation focused on vulnerable customer identification procedures and background checks.

The Australian Center for Transaction Reporting and Analysis (AUSTRAC) works to prevent organized criminals from using banks and businesses to raise funds.

Regulators told the BBC “to work with state and territory regulators and law enforcement agencies to proactively address the significant risks of money laundering through casinos,” and “regulation and education in the gambling sector.” To support. “

In Australia, record penalties have been imposed in recent years as a result of money laundering breaches.

Last September, Australia’s Westpac Bank was fined a record A $ 1.3 billion for violating the country’s largest money laundering law.

Commonwealth Bank has agreed to pay a record high of A $ 700 million in the money laundering case in 2018.

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