The bigger they are, the harder they fall, and Crown Resorts is likely on the verge of a major collapse. Once Australia’s leading casino operator, the company has been embroiled in one controversy after another for the past several years until regulators finally decided that enough was enough. However, despite the international heat coming down on the company and the very real possibility of it being broken up, Crown executives apparently still haven’t gotten the message. An ongoing investigation in Victoria, similar to the one conducted in NSW, has revealed that Crown bank accounts were still potentially being used to launder money only a couple of months ago.
Crown Resorts Almost Out of Time
Official investigations that started in New South Wales (NSW) have already determined that Crown was well aware of its misguided operations, which included rigging gaming machines, allowing alleged warlords to visit its casinos and extensive money laundering. When executives realized that regulators and governments were finally going to act on the accusations, they began a shakeup of the top floor brass and even offered to remove junkets and cash. However, as part of Victoria’s investigation, the Deloitte audit firm has revealed that company bank accounts were found to be allegedly laundering money this past February.
In total, 16 accounts were highlighted for questionable transactions by Deloitte, which was just hired by Crown in February, seven years after the company first became a target for its creative operations. Crown’s inability to be more proactive and its continuing missteps led one inquiry lawyer to assert, “There are serious concerns about Crown’s ability to implement consistent, effective, and sustainable reforms to address its past money laundering. Over the coming days, we will look into the past, present and future to consider just how effective Crown’s reform program is.”
More Royal Pain Coming for Crown
Crown is currently under investigation in Victoria and Western Australia after NSW determined the company wasn’t worthy of holding a gaming license in the state. As part of the NSW investigation, it was already determined that two bank accounts controlled by Crown subsidiaries, Southbank Investments Pty Ltd and Riverbank Investments Pty Ltd, were possibly used to launder money and, even though those two accounts are now closed, 14 others show evidence of questionable transactions, according to Deloitte. Things were so bad in the NSW investigation that the NSW casino regulator asserted that the company would have to “blow itself up to save itself.”
The Victoria investigation is expected to wrap up soon, with a final verdict delivered by August 1. Based on the damaging evidence that continues to surface, it’s very likely that Crown’s days, under its current structure, are almost over. Star Entertainment has already presented a deal that would see a merger, of sorts, of the two companies. However, it might end up being able to pick up Crown’s assets for pennies on the dollar if the Crown investigations continue to head south as they have been already.