Company concedes money may have been laundered through its VIP accounts
A New South Wales Liquor and Gaming Authority inquiry has now heard months of testimony about serious lapses in corporate governance at casino operators Crown Resorts, and its failure to act on red flags regarding transgression on money laundering matters.
Local reports add that “it has taken until the 11th hour, literally, for the company to finally concede money may have been laundered through its VIP accounts.” This admission signals that Crown Resorts will not be opening its A$2.2 billion (US$1.6 billion) Sydney casino in December, and will need to wait until February before it hears whether it will retain its casino operating license.
The last-minute confession apparently took the inquiry by surprise and was the final nail in the coffin for any illusion the company may have had about opening casino facilities this year. Crown put forward documents to the probe, led by Commissioner Patricia Bergin, at 11pm, last Tuesday 17th.
In a report, Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) chair Philip Crawford said: “We are hopeful that Crown Resorts will agree to our request to postpone opening of all gaming activities, which would be unable to begin without approval of these regulatory matters. The Authority has found ongoing evidence before the Bergin Inquiry to be extremely concerning, and that any gaming activity at the casino before the Inquiry’s findings are released in February 2021 and considered by the Authority would pose unacceptable risks on the community against the public interest.”
Commissioner Bergin will give her verdict on the Crown case by February, when it will then be up to the IGLA to decide whether to take disciplinary action.
In view of the controversy, Crown Resorts announced that remedial measures had already been taken, including stopping “work with junket operators, as well as improving corporate governance.”