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The legal director of Casino Empire Crown Resorts, Josh Preston, threatened to call Victoria’s gaming minister, Marlene Kairouz, after receiving a letter from the state gambling regulatory authority expressing concerns that the company was not going to comply with a recommendation to tighten controls on junkets that have brought big players, an investigation was heard.
This morning, the Victorian Royal Commission on the Crown learned that the Victorian Gaming and Alcohol Regulatory Commission wrote to Crown expressing its concerns on May 23, 2019, just a week before the company was supposed to be implement new measures to combat money laundering by tracking how much money each participant at a junket has brought to the table.
Previously, Crown only tracked the total amount of âseed moneyâ brought to the casino by the junket operator.
The recommendation that Crown revise its internal procedures, known as ‘internal control statements’, to strengthen control over junkets, was the 17th during a regular review the previous year of the company’s license to manage a casino in Melbourne.
Officer of the VCGLR Jason cremona told the inquest that over time he became concerned that Crown was pushing back recommendation 17 and instead wanted to focus on a broader review of anti-money laundering and funding procedures. terrorism he applied.
âBased on discussions with commission staff and written updates from Crown, Crown appears reluctant to undertake a review of any relevant internal control statement (ICS) with input from Austrac,â the CEO by interim VCGLR, Alex fitzpatrick, told Crown in the May 23, 2019 letter.
The inquest learned that the next day the Crown executive Michelle fielding called Cremona.
After the call, Cremona emailed Fitzpatrick, saying, “Sorry to bother you, but I just thought I would let you know that I got a call from Michelle this morning responding quite aggressively to the letter. below.”
Fielding argued that VCGLR’s letter distorted the Crown’s position.
“Because she said Josh was ‘pissed off’ and he was probably going to ‘call the minister’, I just informed Catherine [Myers, another VCGLR executive] on the matter noting my concerns and supporting the risk that was presented to the commission and the response to the Crown, âCremona said in her email.
Asked why he used the word ‘aggressive’ Cremona said: ‘To refer to calling the minister is almost like saying that we are offended by what you have said and that we will step up our efforts to make sure that we are heard. â
So far, the evidence presented to the inquiry does not indicate whether Preston called the Minister or not.
Preston is no longer at Crown and Kairouz resigned from cabinet in June last year after Nine Journals and 60 Minutes alleged she encouraged staff members to register bogus Labor Party members. She has always denied doing anything wrong.