Million dollar transaction raises Perth royal commission’s eyebrows

by William Brown Last Updated
Million dollar transaction raises Perth royal commission’s eyebrows

A newly appointed cage boss at Crown Perth said no red flags were raised when he helped prepare a $1.1 million cash transfer two years ago.

News.com.au reports that the Perth casino royal commissioner heard from Jarrod Campbell, the casino’s general manager of cage and account.

Mr Campbell said that the transfer, between a junket operator in Malaysia and a company-controlled bank account, via an Indonesian money changer, wasn’t unusual.

He said he oversaw the telegraphic transfer of a large number of banknotes, including Singaporean currency via Jakarta, into the company’s Riverbank account in April 2019.

The Riverbank account is a central piece of the investigation into whether Western Australia’s sole casino is fit to hold a gambling licence.

The account has already been linked to money laundering activity by a damning NSW probe into parent company Crown Resorts in 2020.

Documents produced by senior counsel assisting the commission, Patricia Cahill, showed Mr Campbell helped prepare a telegraphic transfer in three lots of $300,000 and one lot of $200,000 – all in banknotes – into the casino’s account on April 2, 2019.

Risky payments called into question

Mr Campbell, who had been a cage and account shift manager at the casino since 2007, said he had not seen any risk with the payments at the time and believed the structuring of the payments related to transactional limits on foreign currency he had been instructed on.

Ms Cahill expressed disbelief that the payments did not raise a red flag with Mr Campbell.

“This is $1.1 million in cash you’re seeing here, Mr Campbell. So irrespective of how it’s broken up, just the quantity of banknotes, did it not look suspicious coming through an Indonesian money changer?”

Mr Campbell: “Probably not at the time.”

Ms Cahill: “It’s 2019, it’s only a couple of years ago Mr Campbell. April 2019. It plainly looks suspicious to anybody, doesn’t it?

Mr Campbell: “I could see why you would think that, yes.”

Ms Cahill: “It’s obviously a risk, an anti money laundering risk, this transaction, you’d agree?”

Mr Campbell: “It’s a red flag, yes”.

Mr Campbell, who was grilled for two hours by the commission, said numerous times that he did not recall the exact transaction in question.

“You’re not suggesting to the royal commission that if you had seen a transaction, a cash deposit, to the Riverbank account to the value of $1.1 million back in 2019, you wouldn’t have immediately thought that was an anti money laundering risk?” Ms Cahill asked.

Mr Campbell: “No, I’m not saying that.”

Ms Cahill: “And you don’t recall doing anything about this particular transaction? For example, you didn’t speak to anyone? Former boss Mr Brown or anybody else about not refunding the money or doing anything like that?

Mr Campbell: “I don’t recall.”

Ms Cahill: “Or speaking to anyone about whether the patron should be refused admission to the casino?

Mr Campbell: “I don’t recall.”

Head of security weighs in on organisation culture survey

Later, Mr Campbell was asked by Commissioner Lindy Jenkins whether he had any understanding as to why a junket operator in Malaysia would be using an Indonesian money changer to deposit gaming money into the Riverbank account.

“Thinking it through, logically, no,” he replied.

His testimony came after a Crown Perth security manager said he was surprised and concerned to learn of the proportion of staff who perceived the casino’s security and surveillance employees as prone to shrinking responsibility, bending the rules and working around procedures to get the job done.

Crown Perth head of security and investigations, Derek Burling, was presented with the results of an external Deloitte survey into organisational culture.

The inquiry had heard of numerous occasions where patrons had seemingly “slipped through the cracks” of various casino monitoring processes, including surveillance of an unnamed patron who allegedly made two huge cash deposits within 10 days at the high-roller Pearl Room, using only a Crown Rewards Card as identification.

The results of the Deloitte survey were read out by Ms Nelson.

Only 49 per cent of people surveyed in security and 48 per cent in surveillance said the people they worked with took responsibility for their actions.

More than one-third of survey respondents agreed that their security workmates bent the rules to suit themselves. This figure rose to 40 per cent when applied to the surveillance team.

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