Star admits ‘misleading’ NAB on games | the islander
A senior Star Entertainment Group executive ‘completely misled’ National Australia Bank over a controversial credit card used by high rollers at the casino giant’s arcades, an inquest has heard.
The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority investigation is looking into whether The Star Sydney has been infiltrated by criminal activity such as money laundering, and whether it is fit to retain its casino license, following highly critical media reports.
On Thursday, Star Group Deputy Treasurer Paulinka Dudek, responsible for compliance and risk management on casino bank accounts, admitted the NAB was misleading regarding the use of a “China Union Pay” card on its sites. .
The investigation was told that in 2019, China Union – a Chinese financial services company – became concerned that its cards were being used on Star sites to pay out large “suspicious” gambling transactions in violation of its rules, and raised its concerns with NAB, with the bank and then contacting the casino operator.
In an email response to NAB, Ms Dudek said the CUP card was used to pay for Star’s “hotel accommodation services”, and attached an invoice with a hotel room number, but did not said nothing about the card used to fund gambling.
“I suggest to you that your answer was totally misleading, do you agree or disagree?” asked investigating attorney Naomi Sharp SC.
The witness said she had no role in crafting the response to NAB, testifying that it was provided to her by another Star employee and claiming that she was “pretty new to the business ” at the time.
“I still understood how these transactions worked,” she said.
Later, Ms Dudek said she had grown uneasy about her involvement in the case, feeling that “we weren’t complete” with NAB.
“Did you feel that this conduct was unethical? Mrs. Sharp asked.
“I don’t think I thought about it at the time,” Ms. Dudek replied.
About $900 million was traded on CUP cards, with CUP terminals in Star Rooms being disabled in 2020, the survey found.
In her testimony, Ms Dudek also admitted to having only a “very basic” understanding of Australia’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing system, despite being a senior official in the Treasury Department of Australia. casino operator.
Earlier the inquest heard that claims made about the casino on the 60 Minutes TV show and in newspaper reports would be ‘directly relevant’ at a week-long royal commission-style hearing.
These reports accuse The Star’s owner, casino giant Star Entertainment, of enabling suspicions of money laundering, organized crime, fraud and foreign interference in its gaming facilities.
The casino’s due diligence processes should also be put under the microscope, along with the site’s alleged links to “politically exposed” people.
Another issue to consider is the casino’s “international rebate business” – known as junkets – which involved “huge” marketing efforts to attract VIP customers, many from mainland China, to play at the Star.
Private gaming rooms known as lounges, including one known as ‘Salon 95’ next to the Darling Hotel in Sydney, should also receive ‘special attention’.
Other witnesses scheduled to appear include Chinese billionaire property developer Phillip Dong Fang Lee, who is believed to have been a high roller at the casino.
In addition to its “essential” role of assessing the casino’s fitness to operate, the survey will also assess how successful the site is in minimizing the harm caused by gambling to individuals, families and the community within the meaning large.
Star Entertainment says it has a relentless focus on preventing criminal activity at its casinos, which also include The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane.
Its biggest rival, Crown Resorts, has also faced misconduct investigations, which found criminals were taking advantage of its casinos, prompting two royal commissions and the resignation of most of its board.
Australian Associated Press