Tuesday, June 25, 2024
HomeNewsAustraliaSkyCity Adelaide agrees to $44.5M penalty proposal with AUSTRAC

SkyCity Adelaide agrees to $44.5M penalty proposal with AUSTRAC

SkyCity Adelaide and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) have jointly submitted a proposal to the Federal Court of Australia, suggesting a penalty of AU$67 million ($44.5 million) for the casino.

AUSTRAC initiated proceedings against SkyCity Adelaide in 2022, alleging significant and systemic non-compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

In a previous statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, the group said it had ‘come to an agreement’ with AUSTRAC and would ‘admit in the proceedings and the amount of a civil penalty they will jointly propose as appropriate in the circumstances’.

SkyCity has acknowledged that it breached the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) Act 2006.

According to the new announcement, the violations include deficiencies in its AML/CTF programs, failing to meet the standards set by the AML/CTF Act and Rules, and not conducting adequate ongoing customer due diligence for higher-risk customers and transactions.

AUSTRAC and SkyCity have agreed on the AU$67 million ($44.5 million) penalty, but the final decision rests with the court, with a hearing scheduled for June 7th, when the proposed settlement will be reviewed.

AUSTRAC’s CEO, Brendan Thomas, emphasized that the action was necessary due to concerns that SkyCity’s conduct allowed various high-risk practices, behaviors, and customer relationships to persist unchecked for many years.

Thomas stressed that this case serves as a crucial reminder for casinos and the broader gaming sector to take their AML/CTF obligations seriously and to remain vigilant against money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

Meanwhile, SkyCity’s executive chairman, Julian Cook, said in the announcement the company acknowledged the casino operator’s failure to meet the required standards and apologized for it.

“We acknowledge that, as a casino operator, we play a key role in combating money laundering and terrorism financing and safeguarding the community against these risks. While we take this responsibility seriously, we accept we have failed to live up to the standard required of us and for this, on behalf of the SkyCity and SkyCity Adelaide Boards and management teams, I apologize,” the statement read.

“We know we need to do better to meet the expectations of our regulators, customers and our shareholders, and this is a process that is already under way.”

The company also committed to improving its anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CTF) practices and complying with its obligations, including the appointment of an independent expert to conduct a review of its AML/CTF program, the development of a comprehensive enhancement program, and governance changes to focus on compliance.

SkyCity Entertainment Group recently announced the appointment of former Aristocrat executive Jason Walbridge as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer.

The company also stated it has invested in AML/CTF resourcing and capability, strengthened its relationships with law enforcement agencies, and adopted revised AML/CTF programs.

“Our enhancement activities remain ongoing and we have further important work to do in New Zealand and Australia which will take time to complete,” Cook said.

Nelson Moura
Nelson Mourahttp://agbrief.com
Editor and reporter with 10 years of experience in Greater China, namely Taiwan and Macau, in printed and online media, with a focus on finance, gaming, politics, crime, business and social issues.



daily newsletter