The Inquiry of Star Entertainment Saw Skye Arnott Questioned

As the inquiry of Star Entertainment continues, the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority questioned the operator’s chief financial crime officer, Skye Arnott.

Star Entertainment Dealt with a Fraudulent Partner

The Australian casino and gambling brand has been accused of various crimes, including money laundering, foreign interference, crime and fraud. The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority enforcers continue to investigate Star Entertainment’s close dealings with Suncity Group – a Macau-based junket operator which was found guilty of participating in money laundering and drug trafficking. 

Speaking about the allegations against Star Entertainment, Arnott admitted that the company continued to work closely with Suncity despite the 2019 report which revealed the Macau operator’s illicit activities. The report in question, originally published by Hong Kong Jockey Club, claimed that Suncity had laundered $2 million a day in cash between 2013 and 2015.

Yet, despite the allegations against the Asian operator, Star Entertainment even allowed it to run a cage inside its casino in Sydney. With time, the so-called Salon 95 became a place where Suncity conducted its fraudulent operations.

Arnott Was Questioned on the Matter

When questioned, Arnott claimed that her decision to continue dealing with Suncity was based on the fact that she had concerns with the HKJC report. It was not until 2020, however, that Star first turned its attention to the shady transactions in Salon 95.

The chief financial crime officer admitted that Star Entertainment did not act promptly against the obvious fraud. Despite that, she justified her company’s delay with other compliance operations.

“We were trying to mitigate the risks of Suncity and other junkets in other ways at that time,” Arnott said.

Star Entertainment chief financial crime officer Skye Arnott

Arnott suspiciously omitted the fact that she had access to the HKJC in her initial statement to the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority inquiry. When confronted about it, she denied not being honest. Another thing Arnott claimed to not have been aware of, is an investigator’s report from 2018, which emphasized that Suncity refused to provide information about Salon 95 when asked and that the cage fails to comply with Australia’s regulations concerning precautions against terrorism financing and money laundering. 

Multiple people from Star’s leadership have been questioned about the findings. The scandal brought interesting information to light, including the operator’s dealings with a dangerous Chinese billionaire who had been accused of bribing local politicians. The controversies led to the resignation of Matt Bekier, the Australian operator’s chief executive officer.

Depending on what the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority uncovers, Star Entertainment risks losing its gambling license.

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