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CasinoLegal & Regulatory

Old police unit “should never have been disbanded” amid Crown Casino scandal

David Halge, a former chief casino officer, has told ABC and the Perth Casino Royal Commission that a 22-year-old police unit should still be preventing money laundering at Crown Resorts casinos.

Crown

The unit was scrapped in 1999 and Halge feels if it was still around, it would make things far easier for the Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC) and the Royal Commission's current investigations into Crown. 

He believes the one-person unit should “never have been disbanded" and is quoted as saying: "That person worked solely for investigating junket operators, where they're coming from, where the money's coming from, any criminal activity, criminal background and that then would be reported to the Commission.”

The former casino officer adds that once the unit was abolished, he stopped taking money laundering reports to the Commission.

The Royal Commission is currently in its third week of witness hearings, as it continues to investigate Crown Casino’s money laundering case.

But many feel the Commission does not have the expertise required to monitor money laundering or criminal activity, prompting regret from Halge over the 1999 removal of said police unit.

In addition, Halge is confused as to why the Department of Racing and Gaming decided to stop funding the unit and has asked for an explanation from former Director General Barry Sargeant.

Just last week, Crown rejected an offer from the Blackstone Group to acquire all of Crown’s shares at a price of AU$12.35 ($9.58) per share.

Instead, it is still entertaining a AU$12bn merger offer from The Star Entertainment Group.


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