AUSTRAC to launch civil proceedings against SkyCity Adelaide casino over alleged anti-money-laundering breaches

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According to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), SkyCity Adelaide (SCA) consistently violates Australia’s anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing legislation.

Due to the allegations, Australia’s financial crimes watchdog filed a civil lawsuit in the Federal Court against Adelaide’s casino on December 7.

Following the watchdog’s investigation into the casino that got underway last year as part of AUSTRAC’s industry-wide compliance program, civil proceedings have been launched.

According to Peter Soros, deputy chief executive of AUSTRAC, examinations into SCA revealed systematic flaws in the company’s approach to anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing AML/CTF rules.

Soros said, “AUSTRAC’s investigation identified a range of circumstances where SkyCity failed to carry out appropriate ongoing customer due diligence.”

“SkyCity also failed to develop and maintain a compliant AML/CTF program, leaving it at risk of criminal exploitation,” he added.

The court documents state, “SkyCity failed to carry out due diligence on 124 customers.” This kind of breach can result in fines of more than $2 billion.

According to the records, the casino’s total revenue from these customers in December 2016 was $4 billion, with a loss of around $74 million to the casino.

AUSTRAC documents state, “SCA was aware that some of the customers had been charged or arrested in connection with offenses, including dealing with the proceeds of crime and money laundering.”

“And SCA was aware of information suggesting that some customers were connected to organized crime or that their source of funds or source of wealth may otherwise not be legitimate.”

SkyCity Entertainment Group stated that SCA places “utmost importance on compliance with its regulatory obligations” in a statement to the NZ stock exchange.

According to the statement, SkyCity would “carefully analyze” the accusation after receiving it and would work with AUSTRAC to “ongoingly adopt modifications” to its legal control structures.

Brian Martin AO KC is currently conducting a separate, independent investigation into SCA, which was ordered by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner Dini Soulio.

Soulio said, “I will now be considering the details of the AUSTRAC proceedings to determine the next steps, and will be engaging with AUSTRAC, the board of SkyCity and Martin KC. As these matters are now before the Federal Court, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”