•   
  •   

Australia Crown Resorts faces bad odds as it heads into annual general meeting amid AUSTRAC probe

23:16  21 october  2020
23:16  21 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

The Crown: Charles and Diana's marriage crumbles in trailer

  The Crown: Charles and Diana's marriage crumbles in trailer The preview features the early days of the iconic couple's romance along with their historic wedding, as their relationship takes a sour turn. The Crown Series Four will be released on Netflix on Sunday, November 15, and will see dark times for the royals as they face yet more political and social upheaval with the election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister.

a large building: Crown Resorts is holding its annual general meeting on Thursday. (ABC News: James Carmody) © Provided by ABC Business Crown Resorts is holding its annual general meeting on Thursday. (ABC News: James Carmody)

At casinos, the odds are tilted so the house always wins.

For the moment, it looks like Crown Resorts isn't winning.

Australia's most feared corporate regulator AUSTRAC is investigating claims the company didn't do enough to stop criminal gangs using its casinos to launder epic sums of money.

Class actions are underway against the company for misleading investors, first about the scale of problems that saw Crown staff jailed in China for promoting gambling — illegal in that country — and now about the AUSTRAC matter.

Afterpay has gotten off scot free from a year-long AUSTRAC money laundering investigation — and now its stock price is breaking new highs

  Afterpay has gotten off scot free from a year-long AUSTRAC money laundering investigation — and now its stock price is breaking new highs AUSTRAC has let Afterpay off the hook, concluding a 14-month investigation into the buy now, pay later company on Wednesday. The financial crimes regulator concluded that Afterpay had "completed all remediation necessary to ensure compliance".The financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC revealed on Wednesday that it had concluded a 14-month investigation into Afterpay and would take no further action against the buy now, pay later company.

An inquiry in New South Wales is probing if Crown is suitable to operate a casino it has spent $2.2 billion building, but which hasn't opened, in Barangaroo on Sydney's waterfront.

The investigation highlights the weak corporate governance of one of Australia's most secretive companies.

Directors are now under fire for ignoring compliance, and majority shareholder billionaire James Packer has also come under scrutiny at the inquiry.

Its flagship casino in Melbourne has been closed since July and is unlikely to reopen soon.

All of this heightens interest in Thursday's annual general meeting, to be held virtually as Melbourne remains mostly under lockdown.

AUSTRAC investigation

There's a reason AUSTRAC has the attention of corporate Australia: It knows how to get it.

Maguire only did what our richest and most powerful people do every day

  Maguire only did what our richest and most powerful people do every day Australian business has a pervasive culture of trying to change the rules to help them make money. Daryl Maguire is only the crudest example.Maguire was a two-bit huckster, most of whose endless schemes failed to come off, though not for want of trying. But he was playing the same game played by far bigger, far more successful business and political figures across Australia: rigging the rules for their own benefit.

In the middle of the banking royal commission, the financial crime agency finalised an action against Commonwealth Bank over its , or "Smart ATMs".

The machines allowed people to deposit up to $20,000 a day and send it instantly around the world to different bank accounts.

While they did have legitimate users, such as hospitality operators and late-night traders, they were also used for criminal activity.

Organised crime groups seek to move and "launder" dirty money so it looks like legitimate gains.

"The money laundered through the CBA accounts included the proceeds of drug and firearms importation and distribution syndicates predominantly involving methamphetamine," the settlement read.

The fine was a shock. At $700 million plus legal costs, it was a bombshell.

Then Westpac was recently hit with a $1.3 billion fine for jaw-dropping failures, and the bank's then-chief executive and chair were forced out in disgrace.

Crown Resorts says regulator to probe Melbourne casino on money-laundering concerns

  Crown Resorts says regulator to probe Melbourne casino on money-laundering concerns Crown Resorts says regulator to probe Melbourne casino on money-laundering concernsAUSTRAC did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Westpac was accused by AUSTRAC of failing to stop 262 customers who exhibited telltale signs of engaging in overseas child exploitation.

Until recently, casino regulators had consistently failed to examine the dirty underbelly of the Crown juggernaut.

Instead, it's been the media that has .

Explosive revelations by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes in July last year were similar to allegations raised by ABC TV's Four Corners program in 2014.

The 60 minutes investigation laid out evidence Crown engaged in money laundering, breached gambling laws, and , money launderers, human traffickers, and organised crime groups.

Inquiry exposes failures

The revelations triggered an inquiry by New South Wales' casino regulator, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

Its name is boring: Inquiry under section 143 of the Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW). But its terms of reference are chillingly clear.

Commissioner Patricia Bergin SC is to inquire whether Crown Sydney should continue to hold a licence for the unopened Barangaroo casino.

ASX opens higher on easing coronavirus restrictions in Victoria, Crown Casino shares plunge

  ASX opens higher on easing coronavirus restrictions in Victoria, Crown Casino shares plunge Shares in casino operator Crown Resorts have slumped amid an AUSTRAC probe, while the ASX has opened higher on eased coronavirus restrictions.New South Wales authorities are also probing allegations of money laundering at Crown's casinos by criminals with links to junket operators in China.

The inquiry is also looking at whether Crown Resorts is a "suitable person to be a close associate" of the operator and, if the answer is no, then what changes "would be required to render those persons suitable".

It's all on the line. And on almost every issue examined, it hasn't gone well.

For example, at last year's annual general meeting, Crown's then-executive chair, John Alexander, blamed activists with an "anti-Crown agenda" for exposing scandals.

It went on to pay for full-page newspaper advertisements denouncing the reports and saying they were incorrect.

The inquiry has heard the company knew the advertisements — signed by the board members — were factually incorrect, but ran them anyway.

Former director James Packer left the board but continued to receive or other shareholders.

He also received briefings from the then-CEO about operations that were not shared with the board.

Crown Resorts chair, Helen Coonan, revealed the board hadn't examined the rolling failures of governance because they had been given legal advice it might weaken its defence in a class action being brought by shareholders.

She also gave evidence the casino giant missed red flags of possible money laundering involving VIP high rollers.

Ms Coonan is the chair of the Australian Financial Complaints Association and four other organisations, and she also runs a consulting company.

Victoria Police says it's not investigating Vatican payments without evidence of 'suspicious activity'

  Victoria Police says it's not investigating Vatican payments without evidence of 'suspicious activity' Victoria Police has received information about payments from the Vatican to Australia from the financial crimes regulator, but says without "any other evidence or intelligence" it is not investigating further.Earlier this month, Italian newspapers reported unsubstantiated allegations that Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu was suspected of wiring 700,000 euros ($1.14 million) to Australia in an attempt to secure evidence against Cardinal George Pell in his sexual abuse trial.

She said she hadn't watched either the Four Corners or 60 Minutes programs about allegations of criminal activity linked to Crown.

Despite the media reports, and banks' and the regulator's concerns about Crown bank accounts allegedly being used for money laundering, the board did not investigate or seek an audit of the accounts until recently.

Andrew Demetriou under the spotlight

But it was the appearance of former AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou that could become emblematic of Crown's issues: failing to comply with rules and a lack of respect for regulators.

Appearing over video, the board director took an illegal cheat sheet into the witness box to remind him of basic corporate governance terms.

Excruciating vision of him — eyes down, moving left to right — was replayed.

It became a farce when the inquiry examined why he described "culture" as, essentially, a "way of life of a group of people — the behaviours, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them".

There was a seven-second period — the silence only broken by an elongated "um".

"[It was] a definition that I researched … probably off the net," he said.

"It's the definition that I subscribe to."

Associate professor emeritus Iftekharuddin Choudhury, at the Department of Construction Science at Texas A&M University, wrote those exact words and posted them online in a summary about definitions of culture.

It's unknown how much of a devotee Mr Demetriou is of the intellectual works of Professor Choudhury.

Hurricane Zeta is ashore in resort zone of Mexico's Yucatan

  Hurricane Zeta is ashore in resort zone of Mexico's Yucatan CANCUN, Mexico (AP) — Hurricane Zeta, the 27th named storm in a very busy Atlantic season, made landfall on the Caribbean coast of the eastern Yucatan Peninsula late Monday while whipping the resorts around Tulum with rain and wind. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Zeta came ashore just north of Tulum with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph). Quintana Roo state Gov. Carlos Joaquín had warned that “nobody should be on the streets ... you shouldn’t go out anymore” until the hurricane passed.Zeta was predicted to lose some power while crossing the peninsula, before regaining hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday while heading for the central U.S.

The professor's other scholarly publications include Factors of Biological Contamination of Harvested Rainwater for Residential Consumption, and Time-Cost Relationship for Residential Construction in Texas.

Coincidentally, if you use the internet's most popular search engine to look for "culture definition groups", it's the third entry.

Counsel assisting, Scott Aspinall, did not let up about the almost word-perfect definition Mr Demetriou denied he was reading off a note in front of him.

"Wasn't the reason you did that in order to give the commission the impression that you had an easy familiarity with the concept of culture and corporate governance?" he asked.

The question was repeated. There was another five-second pause.

"I gave the answer that I gave because it's what I believe," Mr Demetriou said.

"I repeat, I did not read from the notes in the answer I gave on culture."

Ms Bergin laid it out, shaking her head, at another point slapping her face.

"The difficulty that I face, Mr Demetriou, is that the very words that are in your notes are the very words that came out of your mouth," she said.

"You understand that, don't you?"

With her head in her hands, she exclaimed: "Oh Mr Demetriou, why did you do it?!".

We'll find out what Ms Bergin thinks about Crown Resorts, its leadership and its ambition to open a Sydney casino in her final report, due in February.

Before then, we may get some answers at Crown Resort's annual general meeting.

The most iconic horror movie characters .
The best horror movies are those with the best characters, whether they be the terrifying villains who haunt our dreams, or the misunderstood maniacs we secretly root for. Just in time for Halloween, here's a list of some of the most iconic and interesting horror movie characters.

usr: 1
This is interesting!