Nick Xenophon demands crackdown on gambling money laundering

Nick Xenophon highlighted the need for anti-money laundering reform.

After a Chinese-Australian businessman allegedly washed AUD 850 million (US$637 million) through Melbourne’s Crown Casino, Senator Nick Xenophon is pushing for a crackdown on money laundering in gambling venues.

Australia.- Senator Nick Xenophon is pushing for a crackdown on money laundering in gambling venues after a Chinese-Australian businessman allegedly washed AUD 850 million (US$637 million) through Melbourne’s Crown Casino.

Xenophon said that whilst this case involved a large sum of money there were other instances of money laundering that flew under the regulator’s radar because they involved smaller amounts. The Senator also stressed the need for an anti-money laundering reform. The reform should include lowering the reporting threshold to AUS 1000 from the current AUD 10,000 and monitoring poker machines for large turnovers, not just winnings.

“Around Australia today money laundering is taking place using pokie machines,” said Xenophon. “If you’ve just done a crystal meth deal, you could launder proceeds of that through the pokies, because the reporting requirements are so anaemic. It’s about the casinos and pokies being used to provide a high-speed washing and drying service.”

According to data provided by the Australian Federal Police, Chinese-Australian citizen Dai Bai Shun Jin had a total buy-in and cash-out of more than $850 million (US$637 million) between 2005 and 2013 at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.

The AFP suspects the large turnover may point to money laundering at Crown Casino, because each time a buy-in and cash-out takes place, the money can be exchanged with other sources of money to permit laundering.

The details of the suspected money laundering activity were revealed after Mr Jin’s wife, Hongjie Ma, lost a bid against the US tax office to stop her from selling a US$1.7 million Californian investment property that is suspected of being purchased with proceeds of crime.