The Federal Court of Australia has ordered SkyCity Entertainment Group to pay AU$67 million of civil penalty following a money laundering case.

The ruling was in relation to a case brought on by AUSTRAC. SkyCity and AUSTRAC agreed on the penalty amount last month. This resolution, now approved by the court, addresses historical AML/CTF deficiencies at SkyCity’s Adelaide casino.

The court also mandated SkyCity to cover AUSTRAC’s legal costs of $3 million.

Allegations in court documents revealed that the casino had clientele with connections to organized crime, loan sharking, human trafficking, and sex slavery. An AUSTRAC spokesperson noted that SkyCity did not conduct adequate ongoing customer due diligence, allowing high-risk customers to channel millions of dollars through the casino over several years.

“SkyCity admitted that its contraventions made it vulnerable to criminal exploitation and exposed the Australian community and financial system to money laundering and terrorism financing risk,” the spokesperson said.

“It (SkyCity) failed to carry out required checks on 121 customers, including where SkyCity knew customers were the subject of law enforcement interest, or where there were indications that some posed a higher risk of money laundering.”

Peter Soros, AUSTRAC’s acting chief executive, emphasized the importance of compliance with anti-money laundering laws, stating that casinos, like all businesses, must fulfill their AML obligations.

Since AUSTRAC’s allegations, SkyCity has initiated measures to address the identified issues. The company appointed an independent expert in July 2021 to review its AML/CTF programs at the Adelaide casino and other operations. This review has prompted significant changes at the venue.

Read more >>> Federal Court orders SkyCity Adelaide to pay $44 million fine over money laundering failings | Yogonet International