Up to 16 Crown Resorts bank accounts may have been used for money laundering, some as recently as February of this year, according to evidence tendered to a Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne currently underway in Victoria.
The Royal Commission is one of two taking place at the same time with Western Australia also in the midst of a Royal Commission into Crown Perth following the damning findings of a previous inquiry held in the state of NSW last year.
Those findings, published in the Bergin Report in February of this year, included revelations that two Crown Resorts bank accounts run by company subsidiaries Southbank Investments Pty Ltd and Riverbank Investments Pty Ltd had likely been used to launder money.
Both accounts have now been closed, however Victoria’s Royal Commission heard this week that the issue may be far more widespread.
According to a report by Deloitte, as many as 14 other Crown Resorts bank accounts show evidence of being used to launder money as recently as February.
Taking the stand to give evidence on Monday, Katherine Shamai – Partner of another firm involved in the auditing of Crown, Grant Thornton Australia – suggested multiple red flags had been detected while studying Crown’s accounts with two accounts likely to have fallen victim to structuring.
Structuring is a money laundering method in which large transactions are split into many smaller ones to keep them below the AU$10,000 declaration threshold.
Shamai later claimed it was impossible to draw any official conclusions on Crown’s accounts based on the data Grant Thornton Australia had available but not before stating her belief that suspicious transactions had taken place.
“I believe there were but they hadn’t gone through our quality review process, so I cannot say for certain,” she said, as reported by News Ltd. “I am not sure how many or the quantum.”
According to a report Grant Thornton, 19% of deposits made into Riverbank’s accounts between 2013 and 2016 showed signs of structuring while 1.3% of Southbank accounts appeared to be similarly suspicious.
Counsel assisting the Royal Commission also questioned this week whether Crown was doing enough to address money laundering concerns, despite the departure of five former directors, its CEO Ken Barton and its General Counsel Mary Manos since February. Crown has also appointed a new Chief Compliance and Financial Crimes Officer.