Crown gets serious on money laundering with new financial crimes officer

Crown gets serious on money laundering with new financial crimes officer

Casino operator Crown Resorts Limited (ASX: CWN) has appointed a money laundering specialist from the banking industry to head up a newly created compliance division in the wake of the ongoing inquiry by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA).

Steven Blackburn has been named Crown's Chief Compliance and Financial Crimes Officer to oversee improvements in compliance across the company's casino operations.

The ILGA inquiry into Crown is examining improprieties, including any potential money laundering activities at Crown casinos and the company's business connections with people associated with organised criminal activity.

Blackburn is currently the Chief Financial Crime Risk Officer and Group Money Laundering Reporting Officer at National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB). He will take up the role at Crown on 1 March next year, reporting directly to Crown CEO Ken Barton and the company's board.

Blackburn will take the reins a month after the expected release of the ILGA report into Crown's activities, due on 1 February.

Crown was dealt a blow last month when ILGA said it would defer its decision on whether to grant the company a gaming licence for its new $2.2 billion casino at Barangaroo along Sydney Harbour until then.

The casino was meant to open this month, but it now has to wait until at least February 2021.

In a pre-emptive move, Crown announced on November 17 that it would suspend all activity with junket operators, who drive the group's high-roller market, until 30 June 2021. Crown says that it will undertake a comprehensive review of its processes related to junket operators.

"I am very pleased Steven has agreed to join Crown," says Barton, regarding Blackburn's appointment.

"This appointment is a further significant step forward in strengthening our compliance and anti-money laundering functions.

"Steven is an experienced compliance executive and his substantial technical expertise and global perspectives will position him well to take a leadership role in driving further improvements through the business."

Blackburn's role at NAB includes oversight of oversight of financial crime control activity and compliance across the bank's global operations.

Shares in CWN are down 0.41 per cent to $9.71 per share at 11.31am AEDT.

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