Crown Casino fails to monitor money laundering account. The top legal officer at Crown Resorts has told a public inquiry that the anti-money laundering teams at the casino giant did not monitor two company bank accounts that were suspected of being used to clean up dirty cash.
The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s probity inquiry into Crown had previously heard that the ANZ and Commonwealth banks shut down the accounts after Crown patrons used them to make a string of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of suspicious cash transactions.
The bank accounts in question were held through two shell companies Crown set up called Southbank Investments and Riverbank Investments. Customers could use the accounts to deposit money for gambling with “privacy” given the nondescript company names hid the fact the money was going to a casino, but that also made them susceptible to misuse by criminals, the inquiry has heard.
On Monday, Crown Chief Legal Officer Joshua Preston recalled evidence he gave on July 31 that the accounts were reviewed by Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth anti-money laundering teams that reported any suspicious activity to AUSTRAC, the anti-money laundering regulator.
“Technically speaking, that’s not correct,” Mr Preston said.
Mr Preston also said that, contrary to his earlier evidence, Crown was not legally obliged under anti-money laundering laws to report transactions to the accounts above a certain threshold. But he maintained it did have to file suspicious matter reports to AUSTRAC.
The inquiry is considering whether Crown should keep the licence for its new casino set to open at Sydney’s Barangaroo at the end of this year, and was launched following reports from that masthead that the ASX-listed group went into business with “junket” tour operators linked to organised crime in Hong Kong and Macau.