WA Royal Commission into Crown Perth opens submissions to the public

Western Australia's Royal Commission is expected to deliver a final report by November 14.
Western Australia's Royal Commission is expected to deliver a final report by November 14.

Western Australia’s Royal Commission has called on former and current Crown Resorts employees, government employees and the public in general to provide information about improper conduct.

Australia.- Western Australia’s Royal Commission has issued a media statement requesting information from the public about possible money laundering and improper conduct at Crown Perth.

The Royal Commission said it is seeking to engage with customers and their families, current and former Crown Perth employees and current and former government employees.

According to the release, Western Australia’s regulator must report and make recommendations related to Crown’s suitability to hold a casino gaming licence in Western Australia as well as on the appropriateness of the regulatory framework.

The topics on which the Commission wants to recollect information are:

  • money laundering;
  • infiltration by criminals;
  • problem gambling practices; and
  • gratuitous rewards programs.

The deadline to provide information is August 2. The second phase of the Commission’s inquiry will resume on Friday, 23 July, with witnesses to be called from Monday, 26 July.

Last week, Former Supreme Court justices Neville Owen and Lindy Jenkins together with former auditor-general Colin Murphysent an interim report to the governor of Western Australia, Kim Beazley AC.

In May, David Halge, former chief casino officer told the Royal Commission that an anti-money laundering (AML) police unit dismantled in 1999 could have helped Western Australia’s Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC) to investigate potential criminal activities.

David Halge said the AML unit comprised a single person whose work solely entailed investigating junket operators. Halge said explained that person analysed junket operators and reported any criminal activity to the GWC.

He said: “Once the police unit was disbanded, I didn’t need to take any report up to the commission that was brought to me by the inspectors concerning criminal activities or money laundering.”

Halge suggested that Gaming and Wagering Commission member Barry Sargeant should be asked why the AML police unit was dismantled.

Crown Melbourne may have underpaid casino tax for seven years, inquiry hears

Meanwhile, Victoria’s Royal Commission heard that Crown Melbourne may have underpaid its casino tax for seven years.

Xavier Walsh, Crown Melbourne’s chief executive, admitted that he learned about the possibility in 2018 but only started investigating when Victoria’s Royal Commission into the casino operator was announced.

Asked by former Federal Court judge Raymond Finkelstein, who’s leading the inquiry, on why he did nothing for almost three years, Walsh said he “took comfort” from knowing senior Crown staff were aware of the issue.

According to ABC newspaper, Walsh raised the issue to former executive chairman, Helen Coonan, once it was announced that the Royal Commission was to examine Crown’s suitability to hold a licence for its casino in Melbourne.

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