Crown Perth used by organised criminals, inquiry hears

The Western Australian Royal Commission into Crown Perth will continue until March 2022.
The Western Australian Royal Commission into Crown Perth will continue until March 2022.

Deputy Police Commissioner Col Blanch has told the WA Royal Commission that Crown Perth was used by criminal organisations to move cash through casino junkets and avoid detection from regulators.

Australia.- Western Australia’s Royal Commission has heard that Crown Perth was used by high-rollers to offset cash provided by organised crime organisations through the hawala system, which allows cash to be moved outside of traditional banking systems.

Deputy Police Commissioner Col Blanch said overseas VIP players who wanted to gamble in Australia and needed more Australian dollars because of their own country’s limitations on cross-border fund transfers would use brokers to supply the cash. 

According to The Australian, he said: “If you have the right broker, they can actually arrange for drug trafficking money to be given to that person wittingly or unwittingly to gamble with, as long as they hand their money in their country of origin over to the person that organised it, and then it finds its way back to the drug trafficker.”

Rachel Murray, Crown Resorts’ internal audit manager, had previously said of junket operations: “I know there was an approval process but I can’t remember who was involved in that process.”

Paul Evans, GWC’s lawyer, has said that 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 ending of the inquiry.

Crown’s special treatment for high rollers led to big losses

The WA Royal Commission previously heard that Crown Perth’s special treatment for high rollers cost it millions. According to John Alexander, former Crown Resorts chief executive, Crown Perth tried to attract VIP clients by offering luxury yachts, private jets and even subsidising multi-million dollar weddings.

However, the approach brought huge losses for the casino operator. During the inquiry, Patricia Cahill, counsel assisting the Royal Commission, cited the example of a wedding that was held for a friend of an intermediary at a cost of more than AU$2.75m. 

According to Cahill, Crown Perth funded approximately AU$950,000 in wedding expenses. However, Alexander admitted that sometimes high rollers chose not to gamble, which resulted in big debts for the casino operator.

Cahill said the wedding party resulted in a loss of AU$3.1m for Crown Perth.

In this article:
Crown Resorts