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AUSTRAC has sued Star casino group with more civil penalties for doing business with ‘high-risk customers’ who launder illegally obtained funds.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) lodged a case against the ASX-listed gambling giant in the federal court on Wednesday after wrapping up a joint probe with police and regulators in NSW and Queensland, which began in September 2019.
The case comes after an NSW royal commission-style inquiry resulted in Star being stripped of its casino licence and fined a record $100m last month.
The Queensland government has also issued the company with a show-cause notice as to why it should continue to hold a casino licence in that state after its own inquiry, also last month.
AUSTRAC will allege Star allowed customers to move money through non-transparent and highly risky channels didn’t know where the money in those channels was coming from and failed to consider their ongoing business relationships with higher-risk customers.
AUSTRAC’s chief executive, Nicole Rose, said all casinos must take anti-money laundering obligations seriously as “criminals will always seek to exploit the financial system to launder their money”.
“AUSTRAC’s investigation identified a multitude of issues including poor governance and failures of risk management and to have and maintain a compliant AML/CTF program,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Star Entities also failed to carry out appropriate ongoing customer due diligence, which has led to widespread and serious non-compliance over a number of years.”
Star’s chief executive, Robbie Cooke, said the company had cooperated with investigators and was reviewing Austrac’s statement of claim.
“We are transforming our culture, transforming our business. We are committed to improvement but there is a lot still to do,” he told the ASX in a statement.