Sydney, Australia, May 30 (EFE).- Australia’s largest casino group, Crown Resorts, has agreed to pay a multi-million dollar penalty for violating the country’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws at its casinos in Melbourne and Perth between 2016 and 2022, the country’s financial crime watchdog said Tuesday.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) said that it had reached an agreement with Crown Resorts on a AU$450 million ($293 million) penalty.
The settlement is subject to approval by the Federal Court, which will hear the case between July 10 and 11.
Under the agreement, the group admitted that it “failed to appropriately assess the money laundering and terrorism financing risks they faced, and to identify and respond to changes in risk over time.”
“First and foremost, I want to reiterate that these historical failings were unacceptable and on behalf of Crown Resorts, our new owners and leadership, I apologize for the failings of the past,” Crown Resorts CEO Ciarán Carruthers said in a statement.
“There is no place for money laundering or terrorism financing at Crown or anywhere within our communities, and we will continue to invest in developing a sophisticated and robust framework, supported by the right capabilities to combat this illegal behavior,” he added.
The scandal came to light in 2019 when an investigation by Australia’s Channel Nine revealed that the group had been infiltrated by international criminal syndicates, prompting probes of its casinos in three regions of the country.
Two years later, the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence in Victoria uncovered a series of ethical and legal violations in the operations of Crown’s Melbourne casino, including money laundering.
The casino also allowed a group of Chinese patrons to illegally transfer about AU$160 million from China between 2012 and 2016, according to the Commission.
This illegal transfer of funds from China led to a AU$80 million fine on the casino. EFE