Crown Resorts staff compromised the casino’s anti-money laundering program by recording multiple large cash deposits from patrons as a single transaction, which obscured potential criminal activity, a public inquiry has heard.
Crown’s chief legal officer Joshua Preston told the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s probity inquiry on Tuesday that it had identified the issue on patron bank accounts suspected to have been used to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars of dirty money.
When customers put money into the accounts – held through shell companies called Southbank Investments and Riverbank Investments – Crown staff would credit that money towards their personalised Crown account in its internal management system.
From 2013 up to at least 2016, staff would routinely combine multiple cash deposits made by one patron and record it as a single deposit in Crown’s management system.
Mr Preston said this “inadvertently compromised” the work of Crown’s anti-money laundering teams, because they only reviewed transactions in the internal management system and not the bank accounts.
Breaking up large cash deposits into multiple smaller transactions, under the $10,000 reporting threshold, is considered a hallmark of money laundering and criminal activity and should trigger an alert to legal authorities.
The inquiry is considering whether Crown is a suitable holder of the licence for its new casinos nearing completion in Sydney’s Barangaroo after this masthead reported that the ASX-listed giant went into business with figures linked to organised crime and was used by drug syndicates to clean dirty money due to lax money-laundering controls.