The playboy trader, the nickel scheme and Singapore’s banks
CHRIS WRIGHT, 21 July 2021
Ng Yu Zhi claimed he had a get-rich-quick scheme for the ages. It was so, so easy, he allegedly told investors. He would buy physical nickel from Poseidon, an Australian Securities Exchange-listed company, at a discount; then he would sell it to a buyer at a profit.
Investors would fund the purchases, and would receive handsome rewards from the resulting profits.
The potential returns: how does 15% a quarter sound? Continue reading “Article: The playboy trader, the nickel scheme and Singapore’s banks”
NAB and CBA exposed over PNG money laundering
Angus Grigg, 12 July 2021
The largest lender in the Pacific, BSP Financial Group, has been ordered to remove senior managers following breaches of anti-money laundering laws in Papua New Guinea, putting further pressure on Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank to cut ties with the troubled institution.
BSP, which listed on the ASX in May and trades as the Bank of South Pacific, was found by the PNG regulator to have committed dozens of violations of anti-money laundering laws, running to thousands of individual breaches. Continue reading “Article: NAB and CBA exposed over PNG money laundering”
Money laundering cop AUSTRAC to face grilling under new financial crime inquiry
Charlotte Grieve, 23 June 2021
The financial intelligence watchdog and big four banks will be probed under a new parliamentary inquiry designed to measure the efficiency and adequacy of the Australia’s anti-money laundering regime.
The Senate approved a motion brought by Labor Senator Deborah O’Neill on Wednesday to launch a formal inquiry into the effectiveness of the laws, regulators and companies tasked with stamping out illicit fund flows. Continue reading “Article: Money laundering cop AUSTRAC to face grilling under new financial crime inquiry”
Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) share price hits new record despite money laundering scandal
Brendon Lau, 16 June 2021
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share price broke a new record high on Wednesday despite being tainted by a money laundering scandal.
The CBA share price jumped over 1.4% to $104.82 even as the S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index:^AXJO) struggled to hold its head above water. Continue reading “Article: Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) share price hits new record despite money laundering scandal”
NAB working with Accenture on massive compliance fix
Consultancy.com.au, 15 June 2021
Consulting giant Accenture is reportedly working with the NAB on a “mammoth” project to fix the long-standing compliance issues which have recently led to increased regulatory scrutiny.
The National Australia Bank has brought in professional services giant Accenture on a secret project to combat shortfalls in its financial crimes compliance and identification of high-risk customers, according to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald. Dubbed ‘Project Apollo’, the engagement is described as ‘mammoth’ by the paper, with Accenture said to have hired additional staff to work specifically on the project. Continue reading “Article: NAB working with Accenture on massive compliance fix”
Australian financial crime watchdog widens probe on casinos already reeling from COVID
Reuters, 07 June 2021
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s anti-money-laundering agency on Monday widened a probe into due diligence at casinos to include the three biggest operators, ratcheting up pressure on a sector already struggling with the pandemic and heightened regulatory scrutiny.
Months into an investigation of top player Crown Resorts, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) said it was formally looking into possible breaches of background check rules at rival Star Entertainment Group and New Zealand’s SkyCity Entertainment Group.
That means owners of casinos in Australia’s five most populous cities now face enforcement investigations that could carry fines or restrict their licences. Continue reading “Article: Australian financial crime watchdog widens probe on casinos already reeling from COVID”
Australia’s NAB faces money laundering probe
ishwarkimmins, 07 June 2021
The National Australia Bank is being investigated by national financial crime regulators for breaking money laundering laws as part of a broader crackdown on organized crime.
Australia’s third-largest market capitalization company said Monday that Australia has begun a formal investigation into its compliance with anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism laws. The casino groups Crown Resorts, Star Entertainment Group and Sky City Entertainment Group are also under investigation, he said. The investigation is part of an extensive campaign by authorities aimed at organized crime revenue, focusing on financial institutions, casinos and crypto exchanges. Continue reading “Article: Australia’s NAB faces money laundering probe”
Call for royal commission into SkyCity Adelaide amid AUSTRAC investigation
abc, 07 June 2021
Two South Australian MPs have called for a royal commission into the operations of the Adelaide casino similar to those underway into Crown in Victoria and Western Australia.
SkyCity revealed this morning it was being investigated by financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC over serious non-compliance relating to money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws in its Adelaide operations. It runs the Adelaide casino as well as three others in New Zealand. Continue reading “Article: Call for royal commission into SkyCity Adelaide amid AUSTRAC investigation”
Financial crime regulator warns about the world of ‘cuckoo Smurfing’
Karen Tan, 07 June 2021
You might not have heard of it before, or even know what it is, but “cuckoo Smurfing” is a sneaky way organised criminals engage in money laundering, by exploiting the legitimate bank accounts of individuals and businesses in Australia.
It is used to move illegal funds into Australia and disguise profits from criminal activities. The key targets appear to be Australian expatriates and exporters, international students studying in Australia, international investors and migrants wishing to settle in Australia.
When Australia’s financial crime regulator, AUSTRAC, released its new financial crime guide last week (3 June 2021), it warned businesses and consumers about the “cuckoo Smurfing” method, and described it as a “sinister practice with an endearing name.” Continue reading “Article: Financial crime regulator warns about the world of ‘cuckoo Smurfing’”
Australia’s NAB reveals anti-money laundering probe, shares fall
Paulina Duran, 06 June 2021
SYDNEY (Reuters) – National Australia Bank said on Monday it is under investigation for suspected serious and ongoing breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws, sparking concerns about potential fines and higher compliance costs.
The financial crime regulator said there were “areas of serious concern” that required further investigation, but it was not considering a civil penalty order at this stage.
Shares in Australia’s third-largest lender fell 2.6% in morning trading while the wider market was little changed.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) said the problems at NAB involved “potential serious and ongoing non-compliance” with customer identification procedures, customer due diligence and other compliance requirements.
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EML took five days to reveal money laundering concerns
James Frost, 25 May 2021
The Brisbane-based firm, which specialises in pre-paid gift cards and reloadable sports betting cards, revealed it was alerted to the Central Bank of Ireland’s (CBI) concerns about the risk of money laundering in a letter to its wholly owned subsidiary PFS Card Services Ireland Limited (PCSIL) late on Thursday, May 13. Continue reading “Article: EML took five days to reveal money laundering concerns”
Crown stuffs $630m under the bed, betting on rainy days ahead
Elizabeth Knight, 24 May 2021
At first glance there doesn’t appear to be an obvious nexus between alleged fresh money laundering claims against Crown Resorts revealed during Monday’s Victorian royal commission and the company’s decision not to redeem $630 million of subordinated notes.
For that matter, most wouldn’t join the dots between Crown’s decision to not pay out its noteholders and claims by the Victorian gaming regulator last week that it was misled by Crown about the arrests of 19 of its China staff back in 2016.
Crown paints a portrait of itself as a now conservative company that wants to maintain its liquidity in the face of the COVID-induced sporadic closures of its venues or changes to their operating conditions. Continue reading “Article: Crown stuffs $630m under the bed, betting on rainy days ahead”
WA gambling watchdog ‘ineffective’ in face of money laundering risk
Hannah Wootton, 19 May 2021
The Western Australia gambling watchdog’s board “regularly discussed” the threat of money laundering in Crown’s Perth casino but did not feel it had “the resources or authority” to investigate it itself, a royal commission heard on Wednesday.
The Gaming and Wagering Commission instead relied on AUSTRAC, WA Police and the Federal Police to stop any possible illegality on its watch, despite not knowing how these law enforcement agencies actually did so. Continue reading “Article: WA gambling watchdog ‘ineffective’ in face of money laundering risk”
Fitch Maintains Rating Watch Negative on Australia’s Crown Resorts
Fitch Ratings, 19 May 2021
Fitch Ratings has maintained the Rating Watch Negative (RWN) on Australian gaming operator Crown Resorts Limited’s ‘BBB’ Long-Term Issuer Default Rating and senior unsecured rating.
Fitch placed Crown’s ratings on RWN in November 2020 to reflect an increased risk of severe regulatory action, which could have a significant impact on the company’s business or financial profile, following a delay in the approval to open its Sydney casino. These risks were highlighted when Crown was deemed unsuitable to hold a gaming licence in New South Wales (NSW) in February 2021, followed by the commencement of royal commissions in Victoria and Western Australia (WA) into Crown’s activities.
Crown is working with NSW’s Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) on its remediation, but the final impact of the regulatory action remains unclear.
The regulator said in mid-May 2021 that it has reached an agreement with the company on several matters relating to the Sydney casino and is appointing an independent monitor to review Crown’s structural changes to allow it to make a final decision on suitability. Fitch will resolve the RWN once the outcomes of the regulatory actions are known and we have assessed the impact on Crown’s operations and financial profile.
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