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Parliamentary inquiry into Crown fails

Wed, Aug 14, 8:10am by Staff Writer

A parliamentary inquiry into claims of dodgy dealings at Crown Casino has failed in Victoria’s upper house.

Crossbench MP Fiona Patten wanted to suspend debate in the chamber on Tuesday to address allegations of money laundering, drug dealing, organised crime and rigged machines at the Southbank casino.

Perth Now reports that Ms Patten’s application was rejected by house president Shaun Leane, who cited an investigation already underway by the gaming regulator – and an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission probe into the regulator itself.

“I welcome an IBAC investigation into the regulator, however, my motion was to debate all of the issues of alleged corruption surrounding Crown Casino and its entities. The regulator is only part of the story,” Ms Patten said in a statement.

“The public has a right to know what is happening at Crown and nothing short of a thorough investigation following a full debate by the Victorian parliament should be satisfactory to all.”

Crown embroiled in junket scandal

Crown Resorts paid a brothel owner and alleged money launderer to lure high rollers to its Australian casinos and then provided them with money to gamble, The Age reported last month.

Multiple sources with knowledge of Crown’s operations have confirmed that Asian sex workers have been flown into Australia on private jets organised by Crown “junket” operators.

Crown has partnered with brothel owner Simon Pan to bring high roller customers to gamble at the casino since 2011, according to Victorian County Court documents, obtained by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes.

Mr Pan owns South Melbourne brothel 39 Tope which is a few minutes drive from the casino precinct and specialises in Asian sex workers and escorts, according to its website.

South Melbourne venue at the centre of controversy

39 Tope has been repeatedly raided by police and subject to sex trafficking investigations between 2008 and at least 2015, while the operations of the brothel have led to major prosecutions of mid-tier workers over breaches of Victorian prostitution laws.

Documents filed in the Victorian County Court in 2015 separately detail Mr Pan’s work as “Junket Representative at Crown Casino” who “arranges people to gamble at a casino and [who] the casino pays …a commission.”

In addition to offering Mr Pan’s junket business lucrative commissions and other incentives to bring high rollers from Asia to Crown, Crown has provided Mr Pan with access to its facilities and banking systems.

The documents show that Mr Pan is the representative at Crown Melbourne for a Macau junket operator, the Kim Teng Jong junket, and has given Crown high rollers millions of dollars to gamble.

Mr Pan’s partnership with Crown raises the prospect that the proceeds from his controversial brothel could be washing through the casino’s high-roller rooms.

It is also possible some of Crown’s big clients are being encouraged to attend 39 Tope – a place where federal police have rescued women they suspect of having been trafficked from Asia.

Documents obtained from South Korean police show that the AFP removed two women suspected to have been trafficked to 39 Tope in 2009, a fact that also has been reported in the media.

Patten seeks more support

Ms Patten intends to put the motion on hold, with plans to garner support from the opposition and the government to deal with the issue at a later date.

But Liberal leader Michael O’Brien said the matter was being dealt with appropriately.

“We’ve said it’s a job for the regulator, the regulator has very strong powers to get to the bottom of these matters,” Mr O’Brien told reporters.


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