Crown Resorts tried to delay AML controls, inquiry hears
On the second day of public hearings in Victoria, VCGLR licensing manager Jason Cremona said a former Crown executive tried to delay the introduction of tighter money-laundering controls.
Australia.- Jason Cremona, licensing manager at the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has told Victoria’s Royal Commission into Crown Resorts that Crown sought to delay the introduction of tighter money-laundering controls.
Cremona said the Victorian regulator gave the casino 11 months to comply with 20 recommendations but that a year later, in July 2019, Crown Resorts had made no move to start recording high rollers’ names and transactions.
He said that when questioned, Crown executives told him they were meeting representatives from the federal financial security agency AUSTRAC to discuss the matter.
However, when Cremona spoke with AUSTRAC, the agency told him they had been working with Crown to broaden anti-money laundering policy but not about recording data on high rollers.
Cremona then sent a letter to Crown’s chief legal officer Joshua Preston to say the casino was at risk of not complying with the recommended protocol.
He then received a phone call from Crown executive Michelle Fielding saying Preston was “furious” and that he was going to “call the minister to complain.”
Federal Court judge Raymond Finkelstein, who is leading the Royal Commission, asked Cremona if he felt Crown was hoping the VCGLR would drop the requirement.
Cremna replied: “Yes to an extent. I was pretty solid in my position… there was no evidence Crown was taking any action to address recommendation in line with our expectations.”
He said he believed Crown Resorts was trying to delay recording the names of all high rollers because the casino operator was afraid they might stop gambling at Crown Melbourne. Cremona said that Crown had finally met all 20 recommendations.
Victoria’s Royal Commission is expected to report back to the Victorian government by August 1.