Article: AUSTRAC issues know-your-customer, cuckoo smurfing warning

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AUSTRAC issues know-your-customer, cuckoo smurfing warning

James Frost, 28 June 2021

The financial intelligence regulator has warned reporting entities to stay on top of their obligations, following recent changes to the AML-CTF Act that added clarity on know-your-customer requirements and banned certain types of correspondent banking.

AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose spoke of the growing awareness of the damage money laundering was doing to the community in a newsletter that reminded entities they needed to verify a customer before letting them make transactions and contained a guide on how to spot a form of money laundering known as “cuckoo smurfing”, which facilitates the transfer of funds overseas without alerting the authorities. Continue reading “Article: AUSTRAC issues know-your-customer, cuckoo smurfing warning”

Article: Money laundering cop AUSTRAC to face grilling under new financial crime inquiry

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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”

Article: Austrac Accuses Australian Casinos of Money-Laundering

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Austrac Accuses Australian Casinos of Money-Laundering

Niji Narayan, 08 June 2021

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac), a state-run financial intelligence organization, has leveled allegations against many of the major land-based casinos in the country.

Crown Resorts, Star Entertainment and SkyCity Entertainment Group are among those who have received notices. Austrac has also reportedly contacted National Bank of Australia (NAB) regarding the matter. Continue reading “Article: Austrac Accuses Australian Casinos of Money-Laundering”

Article: Australian financial crime watchdog widens probe on casinos already reeling from COVID

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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”

Article: Australia’s NAB faces money laundering probe

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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”

Article: Call for royal commission into SkyCity Adelaide amid AUSTRAC investigation

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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”

Article: Crown still exposed to money laundering

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Crown still exposed to money laundering

Gus McCubbing, 26 May 2021

Crown faced pushback after cutting by half the length of a historical review into the presence of money laundering in its bank accounts, a royal commission has heard.

Provisional results from the review show indications of money laundering as recently as February, an inquiry into whether Crown remains suitable to keep its licence for its Melbourne operations was told on Wednesday. Continue reading “Article: Crown still exposed to money laundering”

Article: Crown spiked review of new money laundering rules

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Crown spiked review of new money laundering rules

Patrick Hatch, 25 May 2021

Crown Resorts stopped an independent review of new anti-money laundering controls early this year after preliminary findings suggested it was not complying with measures to prevent criminal infiltration of its bank accounts.

Neil Jeans, principal at the anti-money laundering consultancy Initialism, told Victoria’s royal commission into Crown on Tuesday that Crown commissioned him in early 2021 to review its recent ban on cash deposits and third-party transfers to its patron bank accounts. Continue reading “Article: Crown spiked review of new money laundering rules”

Article: Crown stuffs $630m under the bed, betting on rainy days ahead

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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”

Article: WA gambling watchdog ‘ineffective’ in face of money laundering risk

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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”

Article: Fitch Maintains Rating Watch Negative on Australia’s Crown Resorts

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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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Article: Crown ‘lied’ in Victoria, evidence of money laundering in Perth

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Crown ‘lied’ in Victoria, evidence of money laundering in Perth

Elouise Fowler and Brad Thompson, 17 May 2021

Crown Resorts management “lied” and used delay tactics to stymie an investigation into the 2016 arrests of 19 China-based staff, the Victorian gambling regulator told the Crown Resorts royal commission on Monday.

Timothy Bryant, an investigator at the gambling watchdog, told the Victorian inquiry that Crown’s stonewalling meant it took longer to uncover the truth about the gambling giant’s failure to protect its staff, 16 of whom were jailed for illegally promoting gambling in China.

“I certainly consider that they [Crown], at times, they lied to me at interviews about what they were aware of and what they weren’t aware of,” Mr Bryant revealed to the inquiry, which is examining Crown’s suitability to hold its Melbourne casino licence. Continue reading “Article: Crown ‘lied’ in Victoria, evidence of money laundering in Perth”

Article: Victorian Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne begins

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Victorian Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne begins

Peter Lynch, 17 May 2021

The Victorian Royal Commission into the suitability of Crown Resorts to hold a casino licence in Melbourne commenced today.

The commission revealed its first four witnesses as Timothy Bryant and Jason Cremona from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), Dr Murray Lawson, director of Ethics and Risk Culture at accounting firm Deloitte Australia, and Nick Stokes, head of financial crime and money laundering reporting officer at Crown Resorts Limited.

Opening questions for Bryant and Cremona will focus on the VCGLR’s monitoring of the operator, its investigation into the arrests of 19 staff members in China in 2016, as well as junket operations. Continue reading “Article: Victorian Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne begins”

Article: Reflecting crypto craze, crypto-related scams spiral higher in the U.K.

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Reflecting crypto craze, crypto-related scams spiral higher in the U.K.

SOPHIE MELLOR, 06 April 2021

As the value of virtual currencies spirals ever higher, so have the scams related to them.

According to new data from the U.K.’s fraud reporting service Action Fraud, scams involving cryptocurrency investment rose 57% across the U.K. in 2020, with a total of 5,581 reports made.

Investors lost a total of £113 million to crypto scammers in 2020, up from £76.6 million the previous year. Continue reading “Article: Reflecting crypto craze, crypto-related scams spiral higher in the U.K.”