Tag Archives: Financial Fraud / Securities Fraud

Australian financial crime watchdog investigates casino giant Crown, stocks fall | Instant News


SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s financial crime agency began investigating casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd. CWN.AX on suspicion of failure to comply with anti-money laundering protocols, put the planned resort opening under pressure and sent its shares tumbling.

The Australian Center for Transactions Reports and Analysis (AUSTRAC) said it was initiating a “law enforcement investigation” into Crown’s premier casino in Melbourne following a compliance assessment that began a year earlier, without commenting further.

AUSTRAC’s concerns are focused on the management of Crown Melbourne customers who are identified as high-risk and politically exposed, Crown said in a separate statement.

The investigation adds to an already big headache for the company 37% owned by billionaire James Packer as it pushes up plans to open a new casino in Sydney in December.

Other investigations by state regulators have aired allegations of “malfunctioning” senior management, poor risk controls and issued false public statements.

The investigation has asked the director of Crown why the company opened a casino during a review that will decide if he can keep his license.

That was sparked by media reports in mid-2019 that accused Crown of doing business with casino tours, or “junkets,” an unexamined operator of links to organized crime. Crown initially denied the allegations in a full-page newspaper ad but has admitted on the investigation section of the denial to be misleading.

Crown shares were down 10% late in the morning, compared to a higher overall market .AXJO, as investors weigh the impact of other challenges for companies already facing contention at its annual general meeting on Thursday.

“It’s going to be turbulent for a while. It leaves written uncertainty everywhere, ”said Mathan Somasundaram, CEO of investment research at Deep Data Analytics.

The last high profile company AUSTRAC pursued, lender No. 2 Westpac Banking Corp. WBC.AX, approved a $ 1.3 billion fine last month for unrelated compliance failures.

Crown fell into crisis in 2016 when 16 of its staff were jailed in China for selling casino holidays, violating the country’s gambling ban. Crown quit its overseas interests to focus on Sydney resorts to increase profits.

Years after that, Packer quit the board of directors of the company he founded. At a regulatory probe this month, he acknowledged demanding frequent trade reforms from management, despite having no official role, while negotiating a series of takeover deals that never took place, all without the knowledge of shareholders.

Reporting by Byron Kaye in Sydney and Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; editing by Diane Craft and Lincoln Feast.

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Australia’s Crown Resort has been hit by a second regulator for claims of infringement | Instant News


SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian regulators said on Friday they had begun disciplinary proceedings against casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd CWN.AX after media reports accused him of failing to check on foreign gamblers, a second watchdog took action on the claim.

FILE PHOTOS: The logo of Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd adorns the hotel and casino complex in Melbourne, Australia, June 13, 2017. REUTERS / Jason Reed / File Photo

The regulator for the state of Victoria, where Crown has its flagship casino in the city of Melbourne, said it had asked the company to explain why it was not being punished “for failing to ensure that controls regarding junket participants are implemented”.

Junkets are tours arranged by third parties to take gamblers to casinos, often from China where gambling is prohibited.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) said it would decide on disciplinary action based on Crown’s response, including possible fines or ordering the company to take corrective action on its own.

Australia has a piecemeal regulatory system for vetting junket operators and their clients, but authorities generally expect casino operators to have their own controls to protect against money laundering and organized crime.

A Crown representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

The move ended a tiring week for the company founded and one-third owned by billionaire James Packer, who acknowledged a number of corporate governance flaws in an investigation in neighboring New South Wales where Crown plans to open a new casino in Sydney.

In 2019, a series of Australian media reports accused Crown of doing business with tour operators linked to organized crime, among other allegations the company denied at the time. That triggered probes in both states.

The NSW investigation, which involved a public hearing, is ongoing and will issue its final report in February 2021, but Victorian regulators have ended their investigation, a spokesman said by email.

Topics investigating Victorian regulators include “how internal controls at Crown can be strengthened to further ensure that casino management and operations remain free from criminal influence or exploitation”, he added.

After media reports, Crown put out a full-page newspaper ad that attacked coverage as part of a fraud campaign. But in the NSW investigation, Packer and top Crown executives admitted that some of the statements in the advert were untrue.

Reporting by Byron Kaye; Edited by Shri Navaratnam

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Australia’s Crown Resort has been hit by a second regulator for claims of infringement | Instant News


SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian regulators said on Friday they had begun disciplinary proceedings against casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd CWN.AX after media reports accused him of failing to check on foreign gamblers, a second watchdog took action on the claim.

FILE PHOTOS: The logo of Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd adorns the hotel and casino complex in Melbourne, Australia, June 13, 2017. REUTERS / Jason Reed / File Photo

The regulator for the state of Victoria, where Crown has its flagship casino in the city of Melbourne, said it had asked the company to explain why it was not being punished “for failing to ensure that controls regarding junket participants are implemented”.

Junkets are tours arranged by third parties to take gamblers to casinos, often from China where gambling is prohibited.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) said it would decide on disciplinary action based on Crown’s response, including possible fines or ordering the company to take corrective action on its own.

Australia has a piecemeal regulatory system for vetting junket operators and their clients, but authorities generally expect casino operators to have their own controls to protect against money laundering and organized crime.

A Crown representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

The move ended a tiring week for the company founded and one-third owned by billionaire James Packer, who acknowledged a number of corporate governance flaws in an investigation in neighboring New South Wales where Crown plans to open a new casino in Sydney.

In 2019, a series of Australian media reports accused Crown of doing business with tour operators linked to organized crime, among other allegations the company denied at the time. That triggered probes in both states.

The NSW investigation, which involved a public hearing, is ongoing and will issue its final report in February 2021, but Victorian regulators have ended their investigation, a spokesman said by email.

Topics investigating Victorian regulators include “how internal controls at Crown can be strengthened to further ensure that casino management and operations remain free from criminal influence or exploitation”, he added.

After media reports, Crown put out a full-page newspaper ad that attacked coverage as part of a fraud campaign. But in the NSW investigation, Packer and top Crown executives admitted that some of the statements in the advert were untrue.

Reporting by Byron Kaye; Edited by Shri Navaratnam

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UPDATE 1-Australia fine ANZ $ 7.2 million in recurring payment fees between accounts | Instant News


(Returns ANZ statement and background)

October 2 (Reuters) – Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd said on Friday it was fined A $ 10 million ($ 7.2 million) by a federal court for incorrectly charging customers for multiple transactions made between their accounts.

The country’s fourth-largest bank admitted 327,895 violations for charging recurring payment fees between July 2013 and September 2015 and for failing to correct fees charged to customers between July 2005 and December 2007.

ANZ said the violations were related to a total cost of about A $ 3.1 million. (bit.ly/3nccsMQ)

The sentence was imposed after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) filed a lawsuit against ANZ in July last year.

Many Australian banks have been hit by multiple lawsuits from customers and regulators since a nationwide probe of widespread financial abuses rocked the sector in 2018.

ANZ has no right to charge non-payment and transaction fees from customers where periodic payments are made between two accounts held on behalf of the same customer, ASIC said in a statement on Friday.

$ 1 = 1.3976 Australian dollars Report by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Edited by Tom Hogue and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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