Australia’s financial crimes regulator has opened a probe into Crown Resorts, commencing a civil penalty against the company’s Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth’s properties. According to the watchdog, AUSTRAC, the properties may have come short of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulation.
AUSTRAC’s Penalty Confirms Regulator Suspicion
This comes after AUSTRAC originally launched an investigation back in October 2020 that explored non-compliance by Crown Melbourne but later went on to focus on other targets owned by Crown.
Crown confirmed at the time that the non-compliance had to do with the issues now brought up by AUSTRAC in the civil penalty proceedings. AUSTRAC paid particular attention to how Crown Melbourne, and specifically the property’s high management, dealt with and assessed risk when it came to vulnerable and politically exposed gamblers. This was also one of the concerns that the Royal Commission that investigated Crown Melbourne also flagged as a potential issue.
Crown confirmed that AUSTRAC’s filing is no surprise but the company has the contingencies in place to avoid this bite too badly into its operational results. As previously confirmed, Crown Resorts has turned a fresh page. Crown Resorts confirmed in its most recent financial results that the company has been recovering at a good pace. Chief executive Steve McCann even acknowledged in mid-February that some financial speedbumps will be felt in the future, but nothing major.
Penalty Anticipated, Nothing Alarming
Crown Resorts also has a plan in place to ensure that the target of the civil penalty proceedings will be amended and will bring up the casino’s offer up to speed, allowing it to fully move past this problem. The company stated:
“The plan is underpinned by an uplifted organizational culture. Crown recognizes the importance of complying with its financial crime obligations and has overhauled its approach to managing financial crime risk.”
Crown Resorts faced one of its worst periods over the past two years. The casinos had to be shuttered and no live attendance was allowed for a prolonged period, because of COVID-19 measures. In the meantime, it became clear that Crown Resorts had potentially collaborated with criminal gangs by failing to offer the appropriate look into their customers, the source of their funds, and more.
The AUSTRAC is probably just one of the others to follow as the Crown Resorts’ aftermath is not yet settled. Even then, Crown Resorts may have indeed turned a fresh page as McCann said in February.