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Melco continues to pursue Crown stake purchase

Melco continues to pursue Crown stake purchase

Melco Resorts remains interested in Crown Resorts’ stake despite an ongoing investigation on the latter’s operations.

Australia.- Melco Resorts had announced it would buy a 20% stake in Australian company Crown Resorts. After completing the acquisition of a 10%, a local gambling watchdog launched an investigation on Crown and sparked some uncertainty. However, Lawrence Ho’s company has just confirmed it will continue with the purchase of the rest of the stake anyway.

The transaction, worth €1.06 billion, will be completed in two parts. The first, already completed, on June 6, and the second on September 30.

“Melco intends to comply with its contractual obligations in relation to its acquisition of shares in Crown,” the company told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Melco intends to co-operate fully with all the Australian gaming regulators,” they added.

The investigation

The chief of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Michael Phelan, told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald about the investigations. He said that investigators and federal police and intelligence agencies have uncovered damning “insights into vulnerabilities ... within Australian casinos.”

The Targeting Criminal Wealth special investigation looks into the operation of junkets who are responsible for bringing high roller clients into casinos. Mr Phelan didn’t reveal which operators are under investigation, but Crown recently highlighted its own measures. They said they have “a comprehensive anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing program” and “robust process” for vetting junket operators.

“Much was sought to be made… of the conduct of ‘Crown’s junket operators’. In fact, the junkets are not Crown’s,” Crown stated.  “They are independent operators who arrange for their customers to visit many casinos globally. Crown deals with junkets and their customers in essentially the same way as other international casinos.”

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