June 16, 2024

The Federal Court has ordered SkyCity to pay an AU$67m (US$44.6m) fine for failing to prevent major money laundering from taking place at its casino in Adelaide. It will also have to cover the AU$3m (US$2m) in costs for the case. Financial crimes watchdog AUSTRAC jointly submitted the financial penalty with the company last month.

The court heard about the property’s links to human trafficking, loan sharking, and organized crime, with AUSTRAC saying that the casino company didn’t fulfill its due diligence requirement when vetting customers.

In a statement on Friday, a spokesperson for the watchdog remarked that SkyCity’s failings “made it vulnerable to criminal exploitation, and exposed the Australian community and financial system to money laundering and terrorism financing risk.”

it knew that the person in question was under investigation by law enforcement

The authorities highlighted 121 cases in which SkyCity failed to carry out necessary checks even when it knew that the person in question was under investigation by law enforcement or was aware of the individual having a greater probability of laundering money.

One customer who told staff that he was a chef in a small restaurant wagered over AU$34m (US$22.6m) over a four-year period. The court heard how this person’s family members had drug dealing convictions and some of the cash he presented had a strong smell of dirt.

A probe into SkyCity’s suitability to continue operating its Adelaide casino was paused to allow AUSTRAC to complete its action.

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