AUSTRAC commences civil proceedings against SkyCity Adelaide

SkyCity was notified about an enforcement investigation in June 2021.
SkyCity was notified about an enforcement investigation in June 2021.

Australia’s financial crimes watchdog accuses SkyCity Adelaide of serious and systemic non-compliance with AML laws.

Australia.- The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has announced that it has commenced civil penalty proceedings against SkyCity Adelaide. It accuses the casino of alleged serious and systemic non-compliance with Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.

The civil case follows an enforcement investigation of SkyCity, which was notified in June 2021. The investigation was the result of AUSTRAC’s industry-wide compliance campaign, which began in September 2019.

AUSTRAC’s allegations include that SkyCity:

  • Failed to appropriately assess the money laundering and terrorism financing risks it faced, including the likelihood and impact of those risks, and to identify and respond to changes in risk over time.
  • Did not include in its AML/CTF programs appropriate risk-based systems and controls to mitigate and manage the risks to which SkyCity was reasonably exposed.
  • Failed to establish an appropriate framework for Board and senior management oversight of the AML/CTF programs.
  • Did not have a transaction monitoring program to monitor transactions and identify suspicious activity that was appropriately risk-based or appropriate to the nature, size and complexity of SkyCity.
  • Did not have an appropriate enhanced customer due diligence program to carry out additional checks on higher-risk customers.
  • Did not conduct appropriate ongoing customer due diligence on a range of customers who presented higher money laundering risks.

AUSTRAC Deputy CEO Peter Soros said: “AUSTRAC’s investigation identified a range of circumstances where SkyCity failed to carry out appropriate ongoing customer due diligence. SkyCity also failed to develop and maintain a compliant AML/CTF program, leaving it at risk of criminal exploitation.”

Soros added: “The requirement for regulated entities to have appropriate AML/CTF controls and systems in place is not optional and should be taken seriously by all businesses regulated by AUSTRAC. AUSTRAC continues to work with SkyCity to ensure it complies with its obligations under the AML/CTF Act and to ensure it continues to meet its obligations in the future.”

“This is the third civil penalty proceeding AUSTRAC has brought against businesses operating in the casino sector, It should serve as a warning to casinos and all other businesses regulated by AUSTRAC to take their AML/CTF obligations seriously and comply with the AML/CTF Act and AML/CTF Rules.”

As the matter is currently before the court, AUSTRAC said it will not comment further. In a stock exchange filing, SkyCity Adelaide said it will “continue to cooperate with AUSTRAC more generally, particularly in the ongoing implementation of enhancements to its Adelaide AML/CTF control frameworks as outlined in SkyCity’s FY22 Annual Report.”

The Star Entertainment Group is also facing a civil penalty proceeding from AUSTRAC.

See also: SkyCity could face fines of US$32.21m after AML investigations

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