Paulinka Dudek, Star’s assistant group treasurer, admitted she misled NAB about the use of a China Union Pay card at the company’s venues.
Australia.- Paulinka Dudek, deputy treasurer of the Star Group has admitted that she misled National Australia Bank about the use of a China UnionPay card at Star Entertainment venues. She made the admission to the New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) public hearings on The Star Sydney.
In 2019, China Union, a Chinese financial services company, was concerned that its cards were being used at Star casinos for large, suspicious gambling transactions that violated its rules. It relayed its concerns to NAB, which then contacted the casino operator.
In response to NAB, Dudek sent an email saying that the UnionPay card was used to pay for Star’s hotel accommodation services and sent a bill with the hotel room number. However, she did not mention that the card was also used to finance gambling.
Dudek told the inquiry she was not involved in writing the response to NAB and that it was provided to her by another Star employee. She said she was “new to the company” at the time.
The inquiry heard that around AU$900m was processed on the CUP cards before CUP terminals in Star venues were disabled in 2020.
Dudek, a senior manager in charge of casino bank account compliance and risk management, told the inquiry that her knowledge of the country’s counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering strategies was very basic.
Local media reports and the TV show ’60 Minutes’ have accused The Star Entertainment of allowing organised crime, fraud and foreign interference in its casinos by facilitating money laundering. The due diligence process is now expected to be the subject of further investigation, as are the venues’ alleged links to politically exposed individuals.
The review conducted by Adam Bell SC, the counsel assisting New South Wales’ inquiry into Crown Resorts, will also investigate junkets who attract VIP players from mainland China to the Star.