New footage reinforces alleged money laundering practices
Three whistleblowers are claiming that the Crown Casino in Melbourne is laundering millions of dollars without any consequences.
New video footage leaked shows dozens of bricks of cash, made up of AUS$50 ($34) and AUS$100 ($68) denominations, being taken out of a shopping bag in the casino’s high-roller section. The sum in the video was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.
The footage, which comes from the casino’s security cameras, shows an unidentified man handing over these bricks of cash in the Suncity junket room. He takes the money out of a freezer shopping bag and speaks both with his colleagues and the casino staff before getting his casino chips. The same man allegedly returned to the casino a few weeks later and deposited more money.
Whistleblower voices reaction
Suncity operates a gambling tour for wealthy Chinese gamblers, bringing them to Australian casinos. There is a room just for Suncity at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.
Three gambling inspectors in Victoria state leaked this footage after becoming whistleblowers in the case. One of the whistleblowers is heard speaking as the footage plays out. He identifies the footage as being of the Suncity room in the Crown Casino, adding,
People probably think that everything that goes on is squeaky clean … But in fact it’s fucked.”
The video footage has since been released publicly by independent MP Andrew Wilkie. He is now collaborating with the whistleblowers to help drive the case forward.
Allegations against Crown Casino
In 2017, the Victorian Gaming Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation called for the closure of the Suncity room owing to allegations of links with organized crime. However, it still is open today. The Crown Casino also has previous allegations of machine tampering, domestic violence, breaking of immigration laws, and drug running.
According to the whistleblowers, none of the high rollers are ever challenged or questioned by the casino staff. They can bring in as much cash as they want and launder it. The lack of a decent presence of local police officers at the casino means the establishment can get away with the alleged money laundering activities.
The whistleblowers believe many millions of dollars are laundered through the facility on a regular basis. As this footage comes from the casino’s own security cameras, they feel the casino can no longer deny this is happening.
Failings of multiple bodies
Wilkie, who has repeatedly called for a royal commission into the Crown Casino’s alleged criminality, has said: “For many years we’ve been told of shocking crimes occurring at Crown and now we have new footage that supports these claims.”
The MP maintains that the illegal operation could only continue if the casino believes it had sufficient political protection, and if the region’s agencies were not properly doing their job.
It was in July that Wilkie’s attempt to create a royal commission into the Crown case was rejected after a vote by the country’s coalition and Labor parties. The latest motion on Tuesday was also met with defeat through the lower house.
Free reign for casino’s high rollers
Wilkie also says he interviewed a limousine driver for the casino who claims that high rollers come into the country on private jets. The driver remarked that these individuals don’t have to go through any form of customs checks and can head directly to the casino:
There is no ‘no’ at Crown. Whatever a VIP asks for, you’re expected to do it. Legal, illegal. It doesn’t matter.”
The driver also believes the casino is happy to go along with these activities as it is good for business.
What happens next?
A Crown Casino spokesman has claimed there is zero basis for these allegations, highlighting the casino’s strong history of complying with all regulatory and legal requirements. He went on to say that transactions higher than AUS$10,000 ($6,765), international transfers of funds, and suspicious transactions are all reported to the authorities.
The casino’s license was under review in 2018 for the sixth time. It was concluded that the Crown Casino needs to use external assistance to go through a comprehensive review to address any anti-money laundering risks.
The latest whistleblower allegations have been sent by the federal authorities in Australia to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity. This group has similar powers to that of a royal commission.