Australia: Crown spiked review of new money laundering rules

Crown Resorts stopped an independent review of new anti-money laundering controls early this year after preliminary findings suggested it was not complying with measures to prevent criminal infiltration of its bank accounts.

Neil Jeans, principal at the anti-money laundering consultancy Initialism, told Victoria’s royal commission into Crown on Tuesday that Crown commissioned him in early 2021 to review its recent ban on cash deposits and third-party transfers to its patron bank accounts.

But the review was never completed, he said after Crown declined to give him the information he needed to conclude whether a large number of third-party deposits he found between November and February were breaches of its new policy.

Mr Jeans said he presented the draft findings showing the potential breaches to Crown’s senior Crown compliance executives Nick Stokes and Steven Blackburn in February, but they did not act on his request to investigate each deposit in more detail.

Counsel assisting the inquiry Meg O’Sullivan asked Mr Jeans whether he thought Crown had “deliberately decided not to find out the final results of your analysis”.

“That’s something you would have to ask Mr Blackburn and Mr Stokes,” he responded.

Crown has put a suite of new anti-money laundering measures in place after last year’s Bergin inquiry found it had enabled money laundering in bank accounts, prompting NSW to suspend the licence for its new Sydney casino. Victoria’s inquiry is looking at whether Crown is fit to hold the licence for its Melbourne casino in light of those findings.

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(Photo: Nick Moir)

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