Crown’s legal head admits accounts went unmonitored

Two bank accounts used by casino patrons were shut due to illegal activity.
Two bank accounts used by casino patrons were shut due to illegal activity.

ILGA is continuing its inquiry to determine if the Australian operator should keep its casino licence for its new Barangaroo property.

Australia.- The New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) hearing to evaluate the actions of casino operator Crown Resorts over an illegal gambling scandal in China has heard from the company’s top legal officer, Joshua Preston.  

In his statement to the hearing, Preston admitted that Crown’s anti-money laundering teams did not monitor accounts that were eventually shut down by the Commonwealth and ANZ banks following suspicious transactions.

The accounts were owned by Southbank Investments and Riverbank Investments, shell companies of Crown Resorts which patrons used as a cover to hide the fact that the deposits were being made for the purpose of gambling.  

Preston had previously said that if the teams had encountered any illegal activity from patrons using the accounts, they would have reported it to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). 

Steve Vickers, a former head of criminal intelligence for the Royal Hong Kong, also spoke at the public audience. He said it was almost impossible to eliminate the organised crime component of junkets in China, where gambling is illegal.

The accounts in question were reportedly used from 2013 until they were shut down. 

He said that in countries like Singapore, where the government and casinos work together on due diligence processes, it is likely that influence of criminal organisations is reduced, but in Australia casinos perform their own due diligence.  

ILGA’s inquiry began after Australian media revealed Crown Resorts had implemented a scheme to support and fast-track visas for Chinese high rollers to enter the country and visit casinos. That included supporting visa for some customers who had spent time in prison or had been linked to organised crime and money-laundering operations.  

Crown was subject to a scandal in China in 2016 when 19 employees were arrested. Some served prison sentences after being found guilty of promoting gambling in the country.

The current hearing aims to decide if Crown Resorts should keep its casino licence for its new Barangaroo property. 

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