The Australian government has published a report stating that the government will be investigating the Australian consulate for contributing to a money-laundering scheme that was allegedly being run by Crown Resorts casino across Australia. According to the report, the allegations against Crown Resorts is being brought up as a result of a number of news outlets uncovering schemes for visa fast-tracking systems for high ranking Chinese officials and rich businessmen to come to Australia for high roller gambling, while also sustaining a large scale money laundering operation within their own walls.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age provided information on Crown resorts has been running an operation that was laundering money internationally. The company, owned partially by James Packer, was involving the Australian consulate to China as a way to allow citizens of China to bypass certain background checks and customs checks, in order to be able to travel to Australia and to stay and play at Australian resort. According to the very same media outlets, Chinese gangs were involved in a money-laundering scheme within Crown resorts, which utilized the resources of the company in order to clear money that they had acquired illegally.
High ranking involvement
The media outlets did not stop their allegations there, continuing to discuss how there were certain high ranking officials involved in the process of allowing high ranking Chinese individuals to travel to Australia in order to gamble and allowing them to launder money. In one of the reports by the media outlets, Xi Jinping’s, Chinese President’s cousin, Ming Chai was said to have an Australian passport for regularly traveling to the country. Furthermore, it seems like the individual was also present on a plane when it was searched in 2016, with border agents investigating the plane for suspicion of involvement in a money-laundering scheme.
The allegations and the evidence provided by the media outlets have been deemed sufficient by the Australian government to warrant a full-scale investigation into the Crown Resorts records. Specifically, information acquired from within the Crown records showed that Mr Chai was regarded as a very, very important person, a VVIP and that he was treated with special privileges.
Two MPs within the parliament have gone as far as sponsoring the bill for the investigation of the case. The town Resorts representatives have confirmed that they will be cooperating with the government in the investigation, in any way they can. But, they have also denied any kind of accusations, saying that this is nothing but the media outlets running a smear campaign against the casino. In a quote, they said that the allegations against the company are nothing but smear campaigns that were based on bad or even false information.
The Department of Home Affairs, when questioned about the subject of fast-tracked visas, mentioned that they do indeed provide the service, but only to certain members of large scale, important organizations. How they decide which the important organizations have not been detailed by the DHA.
What is even more worrying is the fact that this news specifically, is causing quite a bit of an uproar across the entirety of Australia. The fact that Chinese gangs might have been involved with money laundering within the country, combined with a large influx of mainland wealth increasing rents and property values in the area are causing a lot of discontent among daily citizens. While the extra tax income is seen as quite positive by the government, the negative background is hard to ignore.
The investigation will thus be extremely wide, and encompass investigations into the Crown Resorts, as much as it will be looking into the viability of the local law enforcement and the integrity of the consulate.