SkyCity reaches agreement over AML breaches

SkyCity reaches agreement over AML breaches

The operator has reached an agreement with New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs.

New Zealand.- SkyCity Casino Management Limited and the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) have reached a settlement regarding the DIA’s civil proceedings against SkyCity for breaches of AML regulations. SkyCity has agreed to pay a fine for the violations.

As part of the settlement, the company has admitted that it breached its obligations under the New Zealand Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 to undertake and review a risk assessment, establish, implement, and maintain a fully compliant AML/CFT compliance programme, adequately conduct account monitoring, conduct enhanced customer due diligence and terminate business relationships when required. The failures occurred between February 2018 and March 2023.

The parties will propose to the High Court that the case can proceed to a penalty hearing, where the penalty amount will be decided. They have agreed to jointly suggest a penalty of NZ$4.16m (US$2.54m).

Mike Stone, director AML/CFT Group DIA, said: “This agreement is an impactful outcome. We have achieved our desired result without the extended duration and cost of court proceedings. While we consider these regulatory breaches to be serious, we are pleased that SkyCity was able to admit to the breaches and acknowledged responsibility for what were significant failings.

“It is encouraging to see the work SkyCity has already done to lift its performance in this area and its public commitment to continue to improve. We will be working closely with SkyCity in the future in relation to its ongoing compliance obligations.

“We are proud that our work has contributed to the integrity of New Zealand’s financial system and can encourage public confidence in our regulations aimed at deterring money laundering and terrorism financing.”

In a separate press release, SkyCity’s executive chairman, Julian Cook, said: “Over the past few years, considerable progress has been made towards upgrading our anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing (AML/CFT) systems. This does not lessen the seriousness with which we take these breaches and we are disappointed that SkyCity is in this position. As a casino operator, we play a key role in combatting money laundering and terrorism financing and we take that responsibility seriously.

“On behalf of the SkyCity Board and management team, I accept and apologize for these long-standing failings. We have fallen short of the standards we should hold ourselves to, alongside failing to meet the expectations of our regulators, customers, shareholders and the communities we are part of. We are committed to, and have begun, delivering the level of change that is required to meet these expectations.”

SkyCity Adelaide agrees to penalty for AML Breaches

Yesterday (May 20), SkyCity Adelaide and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) jointly submitted a proposed AU$67m (US$44.5m) penalty to the Federal Court of Australia to address the casino’s breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act). A court hearing is scheduled for June 7 to review the proposed settlement.

AUSTRAC initiated Federal Court action against SkyCity Adelaide in December 2022, alleging systematic non-compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. According to the regulator, the casino permitted 59 high-risk customers to gamble more than AU$4bn in suspect cash. SkyCity admitted that it operated in contravention of the AML/CTF Act.

In this article:
SkyCity Entertainment Group