AUSTRAC and SkyCity propose AU$67m penalty for AML failings

The proposal to pay this fine was submitted by the businesses to the Federal Court of Australia.

AML penalty
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The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and SkyCity have submitted a proposal to the Federal Court of Australia for the operator to pay a penalty of AU$67m (US$44.6m) for offenses against the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006. 

The proposal will be considered on 7 June by Justice Lee, who will decide whether this amount is agreed to or overturned. 

SkyCity has admitted to wrongdoing in relation to the charge, having stated that it failed to meet anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) rules and requirements as stated in section 81 of the Act, as well as failing to meet customer due diligence requirements for higher risk customers as outlined in section 36. 

This is not SkyCity's first run-ins with regulators in recent months. In September last year, SkyCity Casino faced a temporary suspension of its licence due to compliance issues, with further challenges within the business reflected in the exit of SkyCity Entertainment CEO Michael Ahearne and Australia COO David Christian in October and April respectively.

Similarly, AUSTRAC has launched several new investigations in recent months, with a recent example including one into bet365 for breaches of the same act placed against SkyCity.  

On this latest penalty submission, AUSTRAC CEO Brendan Thomas said: “AUSTRAC took this action out of concern that SkyCity’s conduct meant that a range of high-risk practices, behaviours and customer relationships were allowed to continue unchecked for many years.” 

In fact, across several operators across Australia, there have been cases of inappropriate behaviour and oversight of AML practices.

In April, BlueBet was fined AU$50,000 for advertising breaches, with The Star Entertainment also facing additional misconduct allegations – something that has not reflected well with the recent resignation of several company execs, including Gold Coast CEO Jessica Mellor and Chair David Foster

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