Australia’s Star Entertainment Group has refuted claims that it kept secret and failed to act upon a report from global auditing firm KPMG in 2018 which is said to have outlined apparent failings in Star’s anti-money laundering procedures.
The allegations against Star were aired by a trio of Australian media outlets on Sunday, which claimed the company had enabled suspected money laundering, organized crime, fraud and foreign interference in its dealings with Asian junket operators and their clients.
Star has already described those allegations as misleading, but in an additional response filed with the ASX on Tuesday said it taken significant action in response to the KPMG report, including adopting all recommendations and working with Australia’s AML regulator AUSTRAC to ensure it was satisfying its AML obligations. It also said those actions, which were adopted as a priority in October 2018, had been referenced in a statement it made to the NSW Bergin Inquiry into Crown Resorts.
“The AML/CTF Act and Rules provide for regulated entities, such as The Star, to conduct independent reviews of their AML Programs,” Star said.
“This provides a regular cycle of review activity directed toward continuous improvement. KPMG’s review was preceded by a review in 2015 and followed by a subsequent review in 2020 – 2021.
“The KPMG review made a number of specific recommendations that The Star could implement to more effectively identify, manage and mitigate money laundering risks. The Star initiated a program to address all recommendations from the review. That program of work was conducted from mid-2018 to early 2020.
“The most recent regular independent review of The Star’s AML Program was commenced in late 2020, through which recommendations were made in the ongoing process of continuous improvement. The first stage of this review included, but was not limited to, examining the program of work completed in response to the 2018 review. This stage was completed in July 2021.
“All recommendations are being adopted by The Star, consistent with previous reviews.”
Star said the reviewer had found that, in their opinion, the company’s AML/CTF program was effective in pursuit of its purpose having regard to the ML/TF risk the group may reasonably face, complies with the rules, has been effectively implemented and that Star has complied with its AML/CTF program.
“The Star remains committed to ongoing continuous improvement of its AML compliance. To this end, The Star continues to invest in improvements in systems, capability and resources,” it said.