Casino Malta penalised amid bribery and tax fraud allegations

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIAU) has handed Casino Malta a €233,834 ($247,464) administrative penalty due to breaches in regulations.

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The FIAU launched an investigation into the casino after it was found that it routinely failed to carry out the necessary due diligence checks on high-risk players.

The report found that more resources must be allocated to the Money Laundering Report Officer (MLRO). The company procedures also needed to be reformed to include the correct steps when reporting suspicious activity to the authorities.

There were numerous players who were allocated a low-risk rating when they should have been reported to the FIAU for suspected money laundering or the financing of terrorism.

The first case was a player who registered himself as a ‘self-employed – plasterer’ but was later arraigned in court for alleged drug trafficking while having a freezing order issued against him.

The second was a former Politically Exposed Person (PEP), who remained unnamed in the report.

The third case was a business owner, who the casino was aware had a judicial letter demanding half a million euros in unpaid taxes.

Another customer that did not have the necessary checks done against them included a CEO with links to Turkey.

“The player dropped over €1m, the majority of which amount was in cash and using eight different bank accounts. Moreover, a change in transaction pattern was noted,” the committee wrote.

The report found that 20% of player profiles relied only on information provided by the player and that 10% did not have a permanent address. A further 6% of profiles had foreign addresses which did not exist.

The Casino has been found to breach several laws, producers and regulations regarding Customer Risk Assessments. It has been fined €233,834 and will have a number of follow-up directives for it to follow.

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