Australia Investigating Local Casinos After Allegations of Money Laundering
The Australian region of Victoria has decided to launch an investigation, ASAP, after a number of allegations of several casinos in the area utilizing their infrastructure for money laundering and other criminal activities came out through numerous sources, some of them highly reputable, local media outlets. The news has produced quite a stir in the local community and the reaction of the local government and specifically from the local minister for gambling has been swift. Marlene Kairouz has requested that the casino regulator of the state starts an investigation into the Crown Resorts, as well as into the Melbourne operation run by the company. According to her, the links to organized crime are dangerous, if true, and needs to be investigated immediately, as the results would have implications for immigration and for law enforcement. The news network that spoke of the violations mentioned that Australian high roller casino clients at the casino, who were tired of online blackjack and wanted to play live, were not as innocent in their pursuits as the casino implied.
Crown Resorts allegations
The allegations against the casino have been released over a period of several days by Nine, a newspaper and news network. According to the investigation conducted by Nine, the Crown Resorts clients have been entering the Australian territories though not necessarily entirely legal ways, avoiding dealing with customs altogether. Furthermore, according to Nine, a number of these clients were linked to the Triads, an organized crime group, who they were helping to launder money through High Roller tables that the casino offered to the clients. Nine then went on to discuss and list some of the potential high Roller clients that the casino provided its service to. People who made it onto the list are Xi Jinping’s cousin, Hua Xiangmo, who is a businessman with a controversial track record and is a political donor. The list also includes an Australian border officer, who moonlighted for the casino in their junket operation. The officer is currently apparently wanted by Interpol for numerous offences, one of them being for operating a highly illegal hunting operation in the countryside of Victoria state.
While NIne was reporting about the findings of their investigations, the situation was dire for Crown by Andrew Wilkie, an independent MP in parliament. He used his privilege to further announce allegations by a former worker for Crown, a driver. According to the source, the High Roller clients who came to the casino in private jets did not face any border checks and were simply let in through the country’s border. They did not face any passport checks, any customs checks, being taken from their private jets directly to the car and then to the Crown Resort
What is even more disturbing are the allegations that the resort had some of the worst rates of violence against women in the casino, with women being abused, slapped around, degraded, and so on. Further drug use accusations are not helping the case of the resort either. The Guardian also investigated and found that the resort had yet to satisfy VCGLR, which required the casino to improve their anti-money laundering safeguards and security, to keep criminals out of their Melbourne operation.
The investigation will be starting as soon as possible, according to the gambling authorities in the area. The investigations will be looking into all of the allegations. The goal is to find whether actual money laundering schemes are being run, using the Junkets of the casino. But the investigation is also going to look into the other allegations, with border violations being some of the priorities, but violence and drug violations being on the roster of priorities as well.
Crown Resorts replied that the allegations were nothing but slander and that the Nine network, as well as the others coming out with allegations against the resort and casino were simply running a campaign against the institution to ruin its reputation and damage its income. According to them, this is only part of the trend of the officials trying to ruin casino businesses in the area, because casino is perceived as negative. What will come of this is yet to be seen, but the allegations are some of the most serious that has been faced by any casino in the country before.