AUSTRAC to join forces with local banks over casino investigations
AUSTRAC will partner with Australian banks to continue investigating all three casino operators due to potential financial crimes.
Australia.- The national financial crimes watchdog AUSTRAC will take advantage of its improved relationship with local banks to carry out deeper investigations into the Australian casino sector and potential non-compliance with AML rules.
According to Nicole Rose, CEO of the financial intelligence watchdog, banks could play a major role in providing information about possible financial crimes.
AUSTRAC has launched an investigation into Australia’s three main casino operators: SkyCity, Star Entertainment Group and Crown Resorts.
The probes began when the regulator detected that Australian casinos’ counter-terrorism funding (CTF) and anti-money laundering (AML) programmes were unsatisfactory. The consequences for casino operators could vary from monetary fines to operating licence restrictions.
As the country with the highest rate of gambling in the world, Australia has always been on the radar for possible money laundering crimes and as such AUSTRAC has a special interest in checking casino operators’ activities.
Crown Resorts is already being investigated for cases of money laundering. It currently faces Royal Commissions in Victoria and Western Australia.
Victoria’s Royal Commission into Crown Resorts will continue up to October 15 after the government approved judge Raymond Finkelstein’s request for an extension.
Finkelstein also asked for an increase in the commission’s funding from AU$10m to AU$19.75m to continue investigating Crown Resorts suitability to maintain its licence for its Melbourne casino.
According to local media, Melissa Horne, minister for consumer affairs, gaming and liquor regulation, said: “The evidence we have seen coming out of the Royal Commission to date is significant.
“We’ll provide the Commissioner with the resources and time required to complete this important work as requested.”
During the last session of public hearings into Crown Resorts, Ann Siegers, Crown’s chief risk officer, referred to the arrest of 19 Crown executives in China in 2016.
Siegers, who joined Crown Resorts in 2017, admitted that a review of the incident should have been undertaken immediately to be effective.
She said: “By the time I joined Crown many of the people and individuals were no longer in place and therefore it was too late.”
Siegers also added that Crown Resorts has made efforts in the past months to reach suitability in the state of New South Wales.