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Federal Court Approves Penalty of 450 Million Australian Dollars for Crown Resorts

Posted on July 14, 2023 | 8:16 am

Crown Resorts, the largest owner and operator of land-based casinos in Australia, has announced that Australia’s federal court has completed proceedings against the company for breaching anti-money laundering laws.

The casino operator was ordered to pay 450 million Australian dollars, as per an agreement the company reached with AUSTRAC (the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) in May. The respective agreement was now approved by the Court, which ordered Crown Resorts to pay the agreed amount over the next two years.

The case started in March 2022, when AUSTRAC launched proceedings against Crown Resorts over multiple allegations regarding breaches of anti-money laundering laws and counter-terrorism financing failings at Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth.

The company has admitted its fault, mainly that its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing programmes were not designed using appropriate risk assessments and also that the operator did not have adequate systems in place to manage such risks.

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High-Risk Activities On An Ongoing Basis

Following the agreement over the penalty settlement back in May, AUSTRAC explained that Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth allowed high-risk activities to take place in the casinos on a regular basis, without intervening in any way.

An example of such an activity was a business relationship between the casino and a major junket operator, despite the company being fully aware of allegations linking the respective operator to organized crime.

Moreover, Crown Resorts failed to monitor international transactions worth billions of dollars, and that left the company totally unable to identify and prevent suspicious activity. The company agreed to pay 450 million Australian dollars to the state and also promised to undergo a serious redesign of its anti-money laundering programmes.

“$450m is one of the largest penalties ever ordered against a casino globally. It serves as a clear warning to anyone who provides casino or gaming services in Australia that they must have strong AML/CTF compliance systems and processes that meet their obligations, to protect the Australian community and their businesses from serious financial crime,” Peter Soros, the Chief Executive of AUSTRAC explained.

Ciaran Carruthers, the Chief Executive Officer of Crown Resorts, said that the company has already invested “tens of millions to bolster financial crime compliance and embed global best practice for the gaming sector.”

Source“Federal Court approves AU$450 million Crown Resorts settlement with AUSTRAC“Inside Asian Gaming. July 11, 2023.

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