- »Crown Pauses Junkets and Hires Yates for AML Controls
Crown Pauses Junkets and Hires Yates for AML Controls
It is safe to assume that Crown Resorts is tired of the coronavirus and the NSW inquiry. Recent developments put the company in the spotlight for all of the wrong reasons. So, Crown took steps to signify that it takes concerns seriously.
Not only did Crown announced that it will pause all junket activities through June 2021, it hired a former member of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to tighten anti-money laundering controls.
Junkets on Hold
Crown Resorts announced the move in a September 25 media release. It is a direct result of the recent New South Wales hearings. The company is suspending all activities with junket operators through June 30, 2021.
For the next nine months, approximately, Crown will undertake a “comprehensive review of its processes related to junket operators.”
This action was also a recommendation from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, which has been consulting for Crown and preparing a report on external junkets. The eventual report will outline a proper approval process for junkets.
The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) is many months into its investigation into numerous accusations against Crown. The outcome will determine if Crown is able to keep its gaming license.
The latest hearings produced some of the most stunning revelations to date, Crown CEO Ken Barton admitted that he was not aware of some of Suncity’s activities. The Suncity junket was the most popular – and among the best known in the region – but also ran Crown Melbourne’s high limit games room at the casino. Barton did not know that Suncity accepted cash deposits, which had been taking place in very large amounts.
Commissioner and former Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin was so stunned at the admission that she called it “extraordinarily troubling.”
The same announcement from Crown also noted that the company began a recruitment process for someone to fit a new role, one created as a part of Crown’s own review of its compliance and governance processes. (Needless to say, it is also a result of the hearings.)
The new person will take on the role of Head of Compliance and Financial Crimes, and he or she will report directly to the Board of Directors. Barton will oversee the person’s performance and duties to some extent, though.
In addition, Crown hired John Yates as its new anti-money laundering advisor and compliance expert. Yates will help the company figure out how to tighten its AML controls and implement more restrictions.
Notably, Yates is the former Melbourne Operations Manager for the ACIC, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
The news came from the Sydney Morning Herald, as did the report that Crown hired Yates because the company realized the dire nature of the situation. The possibility of losing its NSW license prompted this and the other aforementioned moves in a relatively short period of time.
All of this comes a little over one month after Alan McGregor officially took over the position of Chief Financial Officer of Crown, further to the original March 2020 announcement. Prior to that, Barton himself only took his position in March of this year after having been appointed in January.
The ILGA is moving along with hearings this week, but many reporters and Australians in general will be paying close attention next week. The schedule shows James Packer himself testifying late on Tuesday, October 6.
Those on the schedule for October 7 include Benjamin Brazil, Harold Mitchell, Andrew Demetriou, Antonia Korsanos, Geoff Dixon, Sarah Jane Halton, John Horvath, and Helen Coonan.