Crown Resorts Inquiry Ends, Western Australia Review Urges ‘No Sympathy’

Officials in Western Australia have concluded their review of Crown Resorts’ business operations. They have delivered their results to the government, which will soon issue its verdict on the company’s future.

Crown Resorts Perth is in the hot seat as Western Australia concludes its investigation. The government won’t release its decision until after a review of the investigation’s findings. (Image: Reuters)
Crown Resorts Perth is in the hot seat as Western Australia concludes its investigation. The government won’t release its decision until after a review of the investigation’s findings. (Image: Reuters)

New South Wales was first, and then Victoria conducted an investigation into Crown Resorts. Both found egregious violations of anti-money-laundering (AML) laws. The last investigation, in Western Australia (WA), is now in the books as well.

The Perth Casino Royal Commission (PCRC) has turned in its report to the government. However, the findings are under wraps until the government analyzes the report and makes a decision on the included recommendations.

When the inquiry was reaching a conclusion a month ago, WA’s Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC) provided its take on Crown’s past. It realized that the operator was guilty of a slew of violations, and urged the government to show “no sympathy” when it makes its final ruling.

Crown Waits to Learn Fate in Western Australia

The GWC came under fire as well during the inquiry. A part-time entity, it acknowledged that it may have failed in its oversight of Crown. The regulator’s attorney, Paul Evans, added that the GWC and its leaders are ready to accept the consequences of their actions and any punishment the government may determine is necessary.

In receiving the final report today from the PCRC, Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti thanked the commission for its efforts. He asserted that the government will “seriously [consider] all the recommendations” the commission included.

Former Crown Execs Get a Reprieve

Amid all of the Crown controversies that have been brewing for the past several years, some executives with ties to the company are able to breathe a little easier. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) investigated individuals at the top of the Crown food chain for possible violations of Australia’s Corporations Act. However, it let them off the hook.

The investigation involved directors and senior executives at the company and targeted the same AML failings Crown faces. However, in the end, ASIC determined that the statute of limitations on any potential violations expired. As such, securities rules don’t apply. It also believes the individuals face enough difficulty as things are.

That was our call, and it falls to me to talk about it as much as I can … but there’s definitely a difference between what a royal commission or inquiry comes up with and what is actionable,” said ASIC chairman Joe Longo.

Longo told The Australian Financial Review that the agency conducted a “thorough” and “intense” investigation before reaching its decision. However, he’s confident that ASIC ultimately made the right call.

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