AUSTRAC is initiating civil penalty proceedings against Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth for alleged non-compliance with Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
Australia.- AUSTRAC, the Australian financial authority, has announced that it will today commence civil penalty proceedings in Federal Court against Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth. The regulator accuses Crown Resorts of serious and systemic non-compliance with Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.
AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose said: “AUSTRAC’s investigation identified poor governance, risk management and failures to have and maintain a compliant AML/CTF program detailing how Crown would identify, mitigate and manage the risk of their products and services being misused for money laundering or terrorism financing.”
AUSTRAC alleges that Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth:
- Failed to appropriately assess the money laundering and terrorism financing risks they faced, including the likelihood and impact of those risks, and to identify and respond to changes in risk over time.
- Did not include appropriate risk-based systems and controls in their AML/CTF programmes to mitigate and manage the risks to which Crown were 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 programme to monitor transactions and identify suspicious activity that was appropriately risk-based or appropriate to the nature, size and complexity of Crown.
- 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.
Rose said AUSTRAC had been working closely with the casino sector through ongoing regulatory engagement to improve compliance.
He said: “Crown is taking steps towards improving its systems, processes and resourcing however there is further work to do and AUSTRAC will continue to work closely with Crown to address ongoing compliance concerns.”
AUSTRAC said it would not comment further on the enforcement action or the details of court documents as the matter is now before the courts.
Meanwhile, Crown Resorts says it has developed a comprehensive remediation plan which is intended to position Crown as a leader in the industry in its approach to governance, compliance, responsible gaming and the management of financial crime risk.
It said that in recent months it had:
- Established a comprehensive Financial Crime and Compliance Change Programme;
- Implemented enhanced controls to manage the risk of financial crime, including a revised Joint AML/CTF Program;
- Improved controls to prevent and detect money laundering through Crown’s bank accounts and enhanced controls and reduced limits relating to cash deposits at its casinos;
- Significantly increased its financial crime and compliance resourcing and capability;
- Invested in automation, with a new automated transaction monitoring system (Sentinel) and digitised tool to allow electronic submission and investigation of Unusual Activity Reports;
- Completed a forensic audit and controls assessment of Crown’s patron bank accounts by an independent expert consultant.