China’s cash flow restrictions maintain triad influence in junket operations – Steve Vickers
While testifying for an NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s probity inquiry into Australian gaming operator Crown Resorts, security expert Steve Vickers stated Chinese anti-gambling laws and limits on cash flows out of the country meant it was impossible to keep triads out of the junket industry.
Australian authorities are currently carrying out a public probity review over alleged security compliance failings by Crown when establishing business ties with junket groups said to have ties to criminal organizations.
The audit will assess if Crown should keep the licence for its new casino set to open at Sydney’s Barangaroo at the end of this year.
According to newspaper Sidney Morning Herald – the publications which reports led to the opening of this enquiry – reported that Vickers told the inquiry on Monday that triad involvement was a byproduct of the debt collection business created by the current capital restrictions imposed by the country.
“The capital controls exist in China, it’s still illegal to promote gambling in China, it is difficult to enforce gambling debts in China – that’s the underlying cause as to why Triad societies are around,” the former head of criminal intelligence for the Royal Hong Kong Police stated.
Vickers added that Singapore regulations and due diligence requirements could be seen as the gold standard for the necessary requirements for a junket to operate within a casino and to weed out triad interferences.
In February of this year, Melco Resorts announced that it has decided to stop the second half of its purchase deal for a 20 per cent share in Crown Resorts Limited, and later
The second 9.99 tranche purchase was set to close on or prior to September 30, 2019, however, it had been previously delayed by the group until Australia gaming authorities concluded an inquiry into the deal, with a total halt on the deal later announced.
The company then decided to sell the previously acquired 9.99 per cent stake to Blackstone, an American multinational private equity and financial services firm based in New York City.
The increased auditing by Australian authorities came after a previous joint report by Australian newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age and Channel 9’s 60 Minutes television program questioned Crown’s business ties to Asian-based junket groups and alleged links to large-scale money laundering.