Australia’s financial crimes watchdog AUSTRAC has served Crown Resorts with a statement of claim for the commencement of civil penalty proceedings against Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth, alleging contraventions of obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.
The civil penalty proceedings follow a lengthy investigation by AUSTRAC, launched in October 2020, into potential non-compliance by Crown Melbourne. Crown had stated at the time that this potential non-compliance related to “ongoing customer due diligence, and adopting, maintain and complying with an anti-money laundering/counter terrorism financing program.” The investigation was specifically focused on Crown Melbourne’s management of customers identified as high risk and politically exposed persons – also a key area of concern identified by the recent Royal Commission into Melbourne’s casino.
In a Tuesday morning filing, Crown said it had anticipated that AUSTRAC would commence civil penalty proceedings but noted it has already developed a comprehensive remediation plan which it says will position Crown as a leader in the industry in its approach to governance, compliance, responsible gaming and the management of financial crime risk.
“The plan is underpinned by an uplifted organisational culture. Crown recognises the importance of complying with its financial crime obligations and has overhauled its approach to managing financial crime risk,” it said.
Last year’s Royal Commission into Crown Resorts found the company unsuitable to operate Crown Melbourne but refrained from immediate cancellation of its casino license, opting instead to implement a Special Manager to oversee Crown’s return to suitability.