Australia: Crown Resorts not suitable to hold Victorian casino licence, royal commission lawyer says

ABC News Australia reports

Crown Resorts is not suitable to hold Victoria’s sole casino license due to evidence it engaged in illegal conduct encouraged by a culture that put profit ahead of integrity, the royal commission’s lead lawyer has told the inquiry.

Crown may owe the state nearly half a billion dollars in unpaid taxes, the inquiry heard. It has agreed to repay $50 million.

In his damning closing submission, counsel assisting the inquiry Adrian Finanzio SC said Crown Melbourne was not presently suitable to hold the licence and cast doubt on the company’s ability to properly reform its culture.

“The evidence reveals serious misconduct, illegal conduct and highly inappropriate conduct which has been encouraged or facilitated by a culture which has consistently put profit ahead before all other considerations,” he said.

Crown has conceded its accounts were used for money laundering and that overseas junket operations have been infiltrated by organised Asian crime organisations.

There has also been evidence of tax underpayment, with the commission hearing the casino may owe as much as $480 million to the state.

Mr Finanzio said Crown had “failed woefully to adequately address the risks of money laundering” and processes were not at the level to combat money laundering expected of a casino.

“Crown became a place where its banks were actively used for the purpose of laundering money, and where enormous volumes of cash, likely carried by money mules serving criminal interests would be walked in off the street in translucent plastic bags and placed into circulation through the casino,” he said.

“Neither in its management of its accounts nor in its efforts on the gaming floor was Crown effective in minimising the risk of money, in truth its approach facilitated the use of the casino for that purpose.”