Crown Perth allowed Chinese high rollers to mask transactions

The WA Royal Commission is expected to deliver a final report by March 2022.
The WA Royal Commission is expected to deliver a final report by March 2022.

Crown Perth is accused of disguising the destination of VIP patrons’ funds.

Australia.- During the latest session of public hearings, Western Australia’s Royal Commission heard from Ken Barton, former Crown CEO who stepped down in February.

Barton was asked if Crown Perth had adopted the name “Riverbank Investments” for its bank account in order to allow Chinese high rollers to mask their transactions.

Barton answered that there was a “desire by some patrons to not have the name of the casino in as the counterparty to some financial transactions”. He said he didn’t think about possible money laundering.

The WA Royal Commission also heard that Crown’s anti-money laundering (AML) compliance office would use discretion if there was a patron that had engaged in money laundering. 

Barton said this was wrong and that he later received proper training on AML and counter-terrorism financing ten years after he joined the company. 

Barton stepped down after Commissioner Patricia Bergin found that Barton had shown he was not up to the job.

James Sullivan, gaming product manager, recently revealed Crown Perth’s RSG team wasn’t aware of poker machine purchases, nor of monthly data highlighting the top spenders on electronic gaming machines.

Sullivan was asked if he thought the RSG team should have been informed on which customers were spending the most money in the casino to make sure that they were not suffering from gambling-related harm.

Sullivan answered that he wasn’t sure but admitted that data might have been of interest. He was also asked if he consulted the RSG team regarding the purchase of poker machines. He said that the RSG team wasn’t involved in purchasing decisions.

Although the Western Australian Royal Commission into Crown Perth will continue until March 2022, the gaming regulator may call on Racing and Gaming Minister Reece Whitby to cancel Crown’s licence before the end of the inquiry.

Former Supreme Court justices Neville Owen and Lindy Jenkins together with former auditor-general Colin Murphy have already sent an interim report to the governor of Western Australia.

Owen said: “So far as we are aware, this is the first time since the grant of the casino licence in 1988 that there has been an inquiry into these issues and given social changes in over 30 years, there is an increased importance to an inquiry of this kind.

“We will be concerned with grave matters of private and public interest and we enter into this investigation with that firmly in mind.”

Western Australian’s regulator has already prohibited Crown Resorts from running high-roller activities at its Perth casino.

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