Crown Resorts’ newest project, a new $2.2 billion Sydney casino, is being barred from opening because the NSW gambling regulator has found out that shady types have (most likely) laundered large sums of money through the group’s bank accounts. The chairman of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, Philip Crawford, stated that he does not support Crown Resort’s casino opening, not until the inquiry into its license is completed. The Barangaroo casino was supposed to open in December, but, after an emergency meeting held by ILGA, this is not going to happen.
Crawford added that he is not pleased with Crown Resorts’ actions. Even though Crown knew about money laundering talks, they have still opted to try and open the casino. Commissioner Bergin is tasked with writing a report on this case and she has to deliver it until February 2021. Until then, ILGA will try to extend the ban on Barangaroo Casino.
Before ILGA gave a public statement about the ongoing case, Crown Resorts has already halted its ASX-listed shares. After a long delay, Crown released its statement at 11pm on Tuesday. This course of action has enraged Commissioner Bergin.
“It’s come at the 11th hour – literally. That gives us great concern because we’re talking about money laundering,” Mr. Crawford said at a press conference. “We’re talking about – potentially – drugs, we’re talking about child sexual exploitation, we’re talking about people trafficking and we’re talking about financing terrorism.”
The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald have first discovered shady activities on the group’s bank accounts. It seems that crime money was moved through the accounts of Crown’s two shell companies, Southbank and Riverbank.
“Crown accepts that there were funds deposited into the Riverbank and Southbank accounts that Initialism has found to be indicative of ‘cuckoo smurfing’ – it is indicative of a form of money laundering,” Crown’s counsel Robert Craig, SC, said.
“Crown accepts that an inference can be drawn that at some point in time deposits into the Southbank and Riverbank accounts were more probable than not part of cuckoo smurfing.”
“What has happened over the last 12 months is that the counsel assisting has trawled through bank accounts with every single witness,” Commissioner Bergin said. “And if this had happened – what happened last night at 11pm – that wouldn’t have been necessary.”
There are yet more news to come on this case as the Bergin inquiry will continue tomorrow.