Money laundering central to Qld Star probe

Star Entertainment’s money laundering controls will be tested as a fresh probe examines suggestions that people banned from other casinos were encouraged to travel to Queensland.

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Public hearings into Star’s suitability to hold a casino licence began in the Sunshine State on Tuesday, with counsel assisting Jonathan Horton, QC, confirming the issue of money laundering will play a central role.

Star handles the matter at a group level, but there are specific concerns relating to Queensland, the hearing was told.

Specifically, it will look at people excluded by police in other states because of suspicions of involvement in criminal activity.

“There’s the issue of some persons being actively encouraged to come to Queensland, and being given benefits to do so even though, and this might be an understatement, red flags existed,” Mr Horton told the hearing.

The inquiry is also expected to investigate the use of ChinaUnion Pay accounts for gambling, despite currency movement restrictions.

Central to the issue is an allegation that patrons could divert funds from their ChinaUnion Pay accounts to credit their hotel room accounts.

Accompanied by a VIP host, the patron would then allegedly take a receipt to the hotel cage and exchange it for cash or chips.

When the casino’s banker, 카지노사이트 National Australia Bank, queried the issue, the hearing was told none of Star’s explanations made it clear funds were for gambling.

The practice ended in March 2020, with evidence suggesting some $55 million was transacted in Star Queensland casinos using this process.

The figure is about 10 per cent of what took place in Star’s NSW operation, Mr Horton told the hearing.

An interim report following investigations by the Queensland’s gaming regulator has been given to Star, with findings to be canvassed when the group’s staff front the inquiry this week.

Star Entertainment interim chief executive officer Geoff Hogg is expected to front the hearing on Friday.

The group’s $3.6 billion resort and casino development at Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane is expected to open in 2023.

The review will report to the attorney-general by September 30.

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