SkyCity Adelaide to pay $67m over money laundering and financing terrorism case

SkyCity Adelaide to pay $67m over money laundering and financing terrorism case

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SkyCity Adelaide has been slapped with a $67 million fine over a money laundering and finance terrorism case.

Federal Court Justice Michael Lee found the operator had, over several years, failed to meet its legal requirements and carry out ongoing customer due diligence under anti-money laundering and financial terrorism laws.

The court found the failure allowed high-risk customers to move millions of dollars through the casino, making the source and the ownership of the funds murky.

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SkyCity Adelaide

SkyCity also failed to carry out checks on 121 customers – including some the casino knew were of interest to authorities and were at risk of money laundering – and have adequate frameworks in place.

AUSTRAC, the finance intelligence agency that brought forward the civil case, said criminals frequently use the gambling sector as a way to clean up their dirty money.

“If casinos and other gambling entities have weak anti-money laundering systems and controls, they leave themselves vulnerable to criminal exploitation,” acting chief Peter Soros said.

“Money laundering is not a victimless crime.

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“It happens because criminals are trying to clean their dirty money obtained by lucrative illegal activities like trafficking drugs or humans, and it is often reinvested to further criminal enterprises and amplify these harms.”

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Stock photo of men gambling at a table.

SkyCity has admitted its contraventions made the casino – as well as the Australian community and financial system – vulnerable to criminal exploitation.

The casino has also taken steps to address the issues identified and remediation remains ongoing.

It was also ordered to pay $3 million of AUSTRAC’s legal fees. 

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SkyCity said it will pay the penalty, which had been agreed upon by both the casino and AUSTRAC in May.

“We acknowledge that, as a casino operator, we play a key role in combatting money laundering and terrorism financing and safeguarding the community against these risks,” SkyCity executive chair Julian Cook said in a statement at the time.

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