Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) - Chair, Helen Coonan
Chair, Helen Coonan
Sourced: The Advertiser
The Market Herald - At The Bell

Join our daily newsletter At The Bell to receive exclusive market insights

  • A Crown Resorts (CWN) Chair has admitted the group enabled money laundering at its Melbourne premises
  • The bombshell dropped after executive Helen Coonan underwent her second day of questioning
  • Currently, the gambling group is under pressure by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority
  • For several years prior to 2020, a travelling gambling group was operating a private room at the Crown Melbourne location, alleged to have used dirty money with ties to a former Triad member
  • Coonan conceded the use of dirty cash on Tuesday, but attributed it to “ineptitude” and not “turning a blind eye”
  • Shares in Crown Resorts have gained 0.36 per cent to trade for $8.38

Crown Resorts (CWN) Chair Helen Coonan has admitted the casino group enabled money laundering at its Melbourne location.

On Monday, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) launched a formal investigation into the group’s Melbourne casino over suspicion of breaching anti-money laundering laws.

Now just a day later, Crown Chair Helen Coonan has given up significant information under a probe by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

From two consecutive days of questioning, Coonan admitted knowledge of the wrong doing on the Crown premises.

However, Coonan didn’t attribute it to “turning a blind eye”, rather, on “ineptitude”.

High roller ‘junket’ groups

The AUSTRAC investigation stems from Crown’s alleged relationship with a ‘junket’ gambling group.

Junket is a term used to describe groups of VIP, and wealthy, gamblers that will travel to casinos and be treated with private rooms and games.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with junkets, Crown was accused of associating with one known as ‘Suncity’, operated by an alleged former triad member: Alvin Chau.

Suncity, originating from Macau, was actually running a private room at Crown Melbourne up until the end of 2019.

From the ongoing inquiries into Crown this week, Helen Coonan dropped the bombshell admitting that Suncity was using, and laundering, its dirty money at the Melbourne gambling spot.

However, Coonan was adamant that the laundering was not actively allowed, but rather a mistake by management.

Although the hammer only seems to be falling on Crown just recently, numerous red flags surrounding its relationship with Suncity were apparent in years prior.

Footage from 2017 showed cash, worth tens of thousands of dollars, being exchanged for chips on the premises. AUSTRAC even pressed Crown on its relationship with Alvin Chau the same year.

As well in 2018, an audit revealed $5.6 million in cash stored in the private room. Legally, $100,000 cash is the limit.

Helen Coonan claimed on Tuesday that Crown management had begun making changes to its method of combatting money laundering, as well as suspending junkets with a review to follow.

Crown Resorts has an annual general meeting scheduled for this Thursday.

Shares in Crown Resorts on the Australian market have gained 0.36 per cent to trade for $8.38 in early morning trade.

CWN by the numbers
More From The Market Herald

Fortescue powers ahead with green energy investments, approving projects in US & Australia

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) has achieved a significant milestone by securing Board approval for an FID…

Fortescue rapidly expands US presence with green energy investments

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) is set to rapidly expand its presence in the United States, buoyed…

AMP shares sink amid news of new digital bank for Australia

AMP Limited (ASX:AMP) is bringing a new digital bank to Australia in partnership with the UK's…

Lithium giant Livent wins approvals to snatch up Allkem

Allkem (ASX:AKE) shares climbed more than seven per cent to $9.28 at lunchtime today as Canberra…