Melco Resorts & Entertainment, a developer, owner, and operator of casino gaming and entertainment casino resorts in Cyprus, has issued a response to money laundering warnings from Moneyval, the European Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism.
The warning had alleged that Cyprus could become a money-laundering destination after a visit from its representatives to a Melco owned venue in Cyprus.
The venue, namely Cyprus Casinos, also known as C2, is a gaming and entertainment brand and subsidiary of Melco Resorts & Entertainment.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment responded that it welcomed “a strong and compliant regulatory framework” and was operating with regulation authorities in the Eastern Mediterranean country “to implement all AML regulations” and was “dedicated to industry-leading and best practice AML/CTF procedures in all our operations”.
The brand owns and operates a number of casinos, all with the same name, and a report emerged from Moneyval following a visit to C2’s Limassol establishment.
The committee, which is an ‘independent monitoring mechanism within the Council of Europe, answerable directly to the Committee of Ministers’, said that the systems for preventing money laundering showed ‘weaknesses’ and stated that the establishment was:
“Currently operating at or beyond the limits of its AML/CTF compliance and risk management system.”
It also stated that the employees within the casino, “Appear to not fully appreciate the quantitative magnitude of those risks when attached to operations of the casino’s current size – much less its anticipated future size.”
Reportedly, Moneyval suggested that in light of the findings, Casinos Cyprus should be blocked from expanding its gambling activities until it can demonstrate such effectiveness.