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Crown to pay $450m penalty after failing to comply with anti-money laundering laws

Casino giant Crown has agreed to pay a $450m penalty after it failed to comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth on Tuesday confirmed it had reached the agreement with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac).

It will be up to the federal court justice to approve the agreed penalty. A court hearing has been set down for 10 and 11 July. The financial intelligence agency launched the legal proceedings in March last year after its investigation identified poor governance and risk management failures at Crown.

In reaching Tuesday’s agreement, Crown admitted to not having appropriate systems and controls in place to mitigate and manage the money laundering and terrorism financing risks. The casino giant also acknowledged it did not have an appropriate transaction monitoring program and higher risk customers were not subjected to extra scrutiny.

In a statement, Crown Resorts chief executive, Ciaran Carruthers, apologised for the company’s failings, describing them as unacceptable.

“The company that committed these unacceptable, historic breaches is far removed from the company that exists today,” he said.

Crown was committed to harm minimisation, Carruthers said, and was already delivering reforms.

“We will continue to invest in developing a sophisticated and robust framework, supported by the right capabilities to combat this illegal behaviour,” he said.

Austrac chief executive, Nicole Rose, said the casino sector was at risk of exploitation by organised criminals seeking to clean their dirty money.

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“Crown’s contraventions… meant that a range of obviously high-risk practices, behaviours and customer relationships were allowed to continue unchecked for many years,” she said.

The agency will work closely with Crown to ensure its systems were compliant and fit for purpose, Rose said.

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