Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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SkyCity agrees to $2.54M penalty in New Zealand for AML/CFT breaches

New Zealand and Australian gaming operator SkyCity Entertainment Group has announced that it has reached an agreement with NZ authorities over AML/CFT breaches and has agreed to pay a civil penalty of NZ$4.16 million ($2.54 million).

The agreement is still subject to approval by the High Court of New Zealand, with the company noting that it would be seeking a hearing ‘at the earliest opportunity’.

The agreement also comes just days after SkyCity announced that it had reached an agreement with Australian financial crimes watchdog AUSTRAC to pay some $44.5 million for similar breaches at its SkyCity Adelaide property.

The new penalty from New Zealand authorities relates to ‘deficiencies in SkyCity’s AML/CFT risk assessment and program which were not fully remediated until July 2021’.

It also encompasses breaches which the company ‘has admitted span from 2018 to 2023 and relate to largely, although not exclusively, historical matters’.

The group notes that since late 2021 it ‘has had in place a significant AML/CFT enhancement program to address compliance systems and correct historical shortcomings’.

This included a ‘complete refresh of the SkyCity Board,’ appointment of directors ‘with specialist risk expertise’ and the creation of a ‘Board Risk and Compliance Committee’.

The group also notes that it has applied ‘higher standards of due diligence’ and lowered ‘cash thresholds before enhanced customer due diligence is required’.

The company also highlights the fact that it cut ties with junket operators – a move it announced in April of 2021.

Furthermore, the group has also committed to implement ‘mandatory carded plan across SkyCity’s New Zealand properties by mid 2025’.

Speaking of the resolution in New Zealand, SkyCity Executive Chair Julian Cook noted that “Over the past few years, considerable progress has been made towards upgrading our anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing (AML/CFT) systems. This does not lessen the seriousness with which we take these breaches and we are disappointed that SkyCity is in this position”.

The company is now aiming to ‘expeditiously’ resolve its other regulatory matters, including the temporary suspension of its New Zealand casino operator’s license.

The group is also actively working with Australian authorities in regards to the independent review of SkyCity Adelaide, which had been put on hold pending AUSTRAC civil proceedings.

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

Kelsey Wilhelm
Kelsey Wilhelmhttps://agbrief.com
Kelsey Wilhelm is a broadcast, print journalist and editor based in Asia for over 15 years. Focused on content creation, management, cross-cultural exchange and interviews for multi-lingual productions. Writing focus on gaming, business, politics, culture and heritage, events and celebrities, subcultures, music, film, art and fashion. Some of Kelsey's specialties are: editing, writing, copy creation, multi-lingual content production, cross-cultural exchange, content creation and management for Asian markets.



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