Queensland to investigate The Star’s link to illicit Chinese payments

The Star Entertainment Group is facing renewed scrutiny as Queensland prepares to launch an inquiry into the use of China UnionPay cards at its casinos.

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In mid-June, an investigation of The Star’s Queensland properties was announced, but scant details were offered regarding the inquiry’s scope.

However, the state’s Government has now appointed a former judge to lead the review and provided a more comprehensive breakdown. The Honourable Robert Gotterson AO will head up the inquiry, to be assisted by Jonathan Horton QC.

Queensland’s Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman commented on their appointment, saying: “Former Justice Robert Gotterson AO will bring a wealth of judicial experience to the role.

“Mr Horton specialises in public and regulatory law and has a depth of experience in the area of inquiries and reviews.”

Queensland’s probe will investigate the operations of The Star’s Gold Coast and Treasury casinos. To this end, it will possess “all the powers, authorities, rights, privileges, protection and jurisdiction of a commission of inquiry.”

It will examine the use of China UnionPay debit or credit card facilities, alongside other arrangements that may have allowed Chinese nationals to gamble despite currency movement restrictions.

But the review will not stop there. It will also investigate The Star’s commitment to anti-money laundering, the management of high rollers, VIP and international patrons and its approach to gambling harm minimisation more broadly.

“There have been serious allegations made, along with a number of public inquiries and regulator investigations over recent years,” added Fentiman.

“Given the weight of evidence that has emerged regarding the operations of The Star Sydney and the shared governance and operational arrangements of Star Group entities more broadly, it is important the inquiry can seek information from anyone it sees fit.”

A similar review is currently ongoing in the neighbouring state of New South Wales. When Queensland announced its probe earlier this month, Fentiman said the state would “accept the findings” of the NSW inquiry being conducted by Adam Bell SC.

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