AUSTRAC chief executive Nicole Rose said the assessment showed that junkets are “highly vulnerable to criminal misuse and Australian casinos must do more to mitigate [money laundering and terrorism financing] risks”.

“I urge casinos to take prompt action by assessing their levels of risk posed by junket operations, strengthening their controls and reporting suspicious activity to AUSTRAC,” Ms Rose said.

Junkets bring wealthy Chinese high rollers to overseas casinos and extend them credit to gamble with, circumventing China’s tight capital controls.

The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes last year revealed that many of Crown’s junket partners had links to organised crime syndicates, triggering the ILGA inquiry which is reassessing Crown’s suitability to hold a licence for its new Sydney casino.

ILGA ordered Crown to delay opening the Barangaroo casino from this month until the inquiry delivers its recommendations, which are due by February 1.

Junket operations have in effect been suspended since Australia shut its international borders in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Crown has said it is reassessing whether it will work with junkets again even when they can resume bringing patrons into Australia.

More to come

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