PERTH, AAP – West Australian authorities will urgently review a “deeply concerning” report which accused Crown Resorts of facilitating money laundering at its casinos.
The report by independent Commissioner Patricia Bergin has accused Crown of laundering money through subsidiaries’ bank accounts at its Perth and Melbourne operations.
In a report to the NSW gaming authority, Ms Bergin has found Crown – which allegedly facilitated that laundering for at least five years – is not fit to run its Sydney casino.
WA’s Gaming and Wagering Commission had initially not been due to consider the findings until a meeting on February 23.
But the state government on Wednesday said the meeting would be brought forward to consider the findings.
The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries has ordered the state solicitor to urgently assess the report and provide advice on the relevance of its findings.
“The department has also requested that the Commission meet urgently once it has received the state solicitor’s advice in order to consider the report sooner than planned,” Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said in a statement.
“Some of the recommendations of the inquiry might not be relevant to Western Australia such as the recommendation to create an independent casino commission, noting that WA only has one casino with an independent gaming and wagering commission.
“However, other recommendations might be relevant, for example the suggestion of adopting Singapore’s legislative requirements for a casino operator to concurrently report suspicious behaviour to both AUSTRAC and the state authority.”
Crown is WA’s largest single-site private employer, engaging 8500 staff across its Perth operations.
The report also found that Crown partnered with junket operators who have links to organised crime groups even after being made aware of these connections, and that the company exposed its staff to the risk of detention in China.
NSW authorities will now decide whether to cancel Crown’s licence to run the Barangaroo casino completely, suspend it, or impose conditions.
Independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie, a long-time Crown critic, called for the casino licences in Melbourne and Perth to be suspended.