Crown Chairman and CEO admits casino 'enabled' money laundering

Australian casino operator is being investigated by AUSTRAC for potential breaches of anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing rules

The Australian government’s financial fraud squad, AUSTRAC, launched an official investigation into if the Crown Resorts broke AML rules.  Crown’s Chairman Helen Coonan has conceded the company’s ‘ineptitude’ on AML laws. 

According to AUSTRAC’s Regulatory Operations branch the non-compliance referred to ‘ongoing customer due diligence, and adopting, maintain and complying with an anti-money laundering/ counter terrorism financing program’ and stated that problems arose ‘in the course of a compliance assessment that commenced in September 2019 and focussed on Crown Melbourne’s management of customers identified as high risk and politically exposed persons.’ 

They addressed Crown and added: “It would be appreciated if you could provide us with documentation evidencing Crown’s consideration of the appropriateness of continuing to provide designated services to Mr Chau.” 

When challenged about why Crown didn’t shut down a VIP room, run by SunCity, a VIP junket partner with alleged criminal links, Ms Coonan said: “It may have been ineptitude or a lack of attention, I don’t think it was deliberately turning a blind eye, I do think that’s a different adjectival conclusion. 

Crown Resorts has received a 'first strike' against its remuneration report, with more than 34 per cent of shareholders voting against the resolution. Helen Coonan said if the remuneration report fails again at next year's meeting it could trigger a spill of all board positions. At Thursday's annual general meeting, Ms. Coonan apologised to shareholders for the company's "governance and risk management failings". 

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