AUSTRAC SCRUTINIZES CROWN CASINO FOR MONEY LAUNDERING VIOLATIONS

Casinos have always been one of the vulnerable tools for criminals to lauder money. AUSTRAC, the financial crimes regulator of Australia began to conduct compliance assessment on the country’s casino, “crown resorts ltd” from sep 2019.The australia’s largest gaming and entertainment casino group has reported that it has been witnessing sharp fall in its stock prices after being investigated on the grounds of violation of anti money laundering and terrorist financing directives. The share price of crown has dropped around 8.8% in Australian securities exchange (ASX).

 AUSTRAC ‘s investigation in this regard primarily centers on how the individuals who were supposed to be high risk and politically exposed persons(PEP) were handled in terms of AML/CFT regulations. Though the individuals who executed such financial crime have not yet been exposed, crown resorts ltd has involved with high profile, high net worth extravagant Asians gamblers. The allegations include cash being handed over in aldi bags. Crown has stated that it has stopped dealings with high risk operators as it is reviewing its concerned due diligence policies. Crown resorts ltd has told that it would completely collaborate with AUSTRAC and would provide necessary information required as part of the investigations.

AUSTRAC is bestowed with comprehensive directives to ensure compliance that includes its authority to appeal civil penalty order from Australia’s federal court. Recently, Westpac, the Australian financial services provider has agreed to pay A$1.3 billion ($923 million) as penalty as it failed to comply with anti money laundering laws and regulations. Tabcorp, the gambling company in Australia paid A$ 45 million towards 108 aml/cft breaches in 2017.

Crown resorts ltd will conduct its annual general meeting (AGM) on oct-22 however lot of institutional investors have voted against the resolutions of AGM due to its non-adherence to compliance procedures. AUSTRAC’s investigation report is the deciding factor to establish whether crown resorts ltd is aml/cft compliant to start a new casino in Sydney that is due to open in December.

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Author: Rajashree, MBA, CAMI (PonSun AML Academy)