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Thursday, November 26, 2020

NSW inquiry told Crown was ignorant about money laundering activities

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A probe into Crown Resorts has been told the gaming giant played “ignorant” to potential money laundering-activities occurring at its casinos.

In concluding submissions to a NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) inquiry, counsel assisting Scott Aspinall SC said Crown for years played down potential money laundering through two of its subsidiaries.

Crown during Monday’s proceeding said it would be refuting the claim it was aware potential money laundering was occurring at either of its Perth or Melbourne casinos.

The ILGA inquiry into the gaming behemoth is seeking to determine if Crown should retain its casino licence for its Sydney Barangaroo venue, which is expected to open in December.

Mr Aspinall is arguing Crown is not suitable to hold a licence in NSW due to allegations management turned a blind eye to red flags of money laundering through the casino’s junket partners.

The ILGA probe is seeking to determine if Crown should retain its Sydney gaming licence. Picture: Supplied
media_cameraThe ILGA probe is seeking to determine if Crown should retain its Sydney gaming licence. Picture: Supplied

It’s been alleged the junket partners bringing in high roller VIP players had links to organised crime in Asia.

It has also been reported two private companies set up by Crown were used to launder money.

“There was either an ignorance of the problem or an apathy that it was occurring or not,” Mr Aspinall said.

The inquiry heard management at Crown never reviewed the bank accounts of private subsidiaries Southbank Investments and Riverbank Investments despite questionable deposits made to the respective companies.

Mr Aspinall said red flags should have been raised by Crown management following a litany of suspicious deposits made to the casino, with transaction descriptions relating to school fees or loan purchases even though the money was intended to be gambled.

He also said there was evidence of “smurfing”, a tactic used to break down a large amount of money into smaller transactions in order to evade financial reporting laws on funds being transferred overseas.

Originally published as Crown ‘ignorant’ about money laundering

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