Suncity Group CEO Alvin Chau has been banned from entering Australia by the nation’s Home Affairs department, according to a report by Fairfax Media.
In the latest of a series of articles investigating alleged links between Crown Resorts and Asian criminal syndicates, Fairfax newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age published reports of Chau’s exclusion over the weekend, citing official sources said to have spoken on the condition of anonymity.
They also referred to leaked reports from the Hong Kong Jockey Club in which it is claimed officials were briefed by Australian law enforcement officers in 2017 regarding alleged risks posed by Suncity Group’s controlling entities, including Chau.
However, it is worth noting that much of the recent reporting by the Australian media has focused on Crown’s use of junkets itself as a headline controversy, including references to the casino operator having “devised a strategy” to utilize junkets as a key part of its VIP business. As previously noted by IAG, this completely overlooks the fact that Crown is far from alone in this pursuit – junkets are employed by gaming operators in a majority of casino-resorts around the world and are a fundamental part of their core business.
Crown issued a strongly worded rebuttal of its own last week in which it also said that none of the recent media reports conveyed the fact that junkets “are an established and accepted part of the operations of international casinos.”
The weekend’s headlines follow a three-way investigation first aired a week ago by The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Australian current affairs television program 60 Minutes in which the trio accused Crown of doing business with Asian organized crime syndicates with known links to money laundering, drugs and sex trafficking. The reports question Crown’s anti-money laundering controls and the visa approval processes applied to its VIP customers by Australian border control.
It is IAG’s opinion that the alleged links between Crown and any Asian criminal activity in the original reporting are largely tentative, and in some instances seem overly-contrived including breathless references to sinister names such as “The Company” and “Mr Chinatown”, the undisclosed use of potentially conflicted interviewees and the liberal application of foreboding background music in the original 60 Minutes report.
Fairfax has defended its stance and notes the Hong Kong Jockey Club leaked reports suggest the entities in question “pose tangible criminal and reputational risks to the … club and indeed racing integrity in Hong Kong.”
Suncity declined to comment on the matter, Fairfax said.
The seriousness of the allegations has seen the government call for an inquiry by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity under pressure from the likes of Australian Independent MP and ardent anti-gambling campaigner Andrew Wilkie.