Crown casinos to face Federal Court over AML and CTF allegations

A financial watchdog is taking two Crown Resorts casinos to Australia’s Federal Court over alleged “serious and systemic” violations of anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) laws.

CrownMel

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) will commence civil penalty proceedings against Crown’s Melbourne and Perth properties following a long-running enforcement investigation.

This revealed, according to AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose, “poor governance, risk management and failures to have and maintain a compliant AML/CTF programme.”

AUSTRAC’s allegations are extensive, asserting that Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth failed to adequately assess the money laundering and terrorism financing risks, a transaction monitoring programme was not in place and they did not conduct suitable customer due diligence, among other claims.

Rose said the absence of appropriate controls and processes meant Crown “was unable to appropriately manage high risk customers,” allowing money to be moved in an opaque manner and exposing Crown to criminal exploitation.

“AUSTRAC has taken this strong action to achieve enduring change and ensure that Crown will fully meet their obligations to protect themselves and Australia’s financial system from criminal activity,” she remarked.

“This is an important reminder to all casinos in Australia that they must have a strong anti-money laundering programme in place to protect their business and the community from serious and organised crime.”

Rose went on to say that AUSTRAC has been working closely with Australia’s casino sector through “ongoing regulatory engagement” to raise compliance levels.

She added: “Crown is taking steps towards improving its systems, processes and resourcing however there is further work to do and AUSTRAC will continue to work closely with Crown to address ongoing compliance concerns.”

In a separate statement, Crown Resorts said it had anticipated these civil penalty proceedings and has “developed a comprehensive remediation plan which is intended to position Crown as a leader in the industry in its approach to governance, compliance, responsible gaming and the management of financial crime risk.”


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