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Crown Resorts fined $57 million for enabling illegal fund transfer from China By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Australian top casino operator Crown Resorts adorns a fence surrounding the Crown Perth hotel and casino complex in Western Australia, Oct. 20, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Bunch

(Reuters) -Australian largest casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd said on Monday it was fined A$80 million ($57.4 million) by the Victoria state gambling regulator for enabling illegal transfer of funds from China between 2012 and 2016.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) had said last month it would launch disciplinary action against Crown, after the state’s Royal Commission enquiry uncovered the issue, dubbed as the “China UnionPay process”.

The VGCCC, in its initial decision on Friday, said the issue related to illegal conduct, whereby patrons were allowed to use credit or debit cards to access funds to gamble at Crown’s Melbourne casino.

This facilitated access to nearly A$164 million to the patrons, from which Crown derived an estimated revenue of more than A$32 million, the regulator said.

“Crown acknowledges its historic failings,” the company said on Monday, adding that the China UnionPay process had ceased in 2016 and that an independent investigation was conducted and its findings were shared with the Victorian Royal Commission when the issue had come to light.

An inquiry in October had declared Crown unsuitable to hold a gambling licence in Melbourne, but allowed it to run its biggest-earning casino under supervision.

Crown added that the VGCCC had indicated it would continue to consider further disciplinary proceedings against the company related to other findings of the Royal Commission, which may each result in a fine of up to A$100 million.

($1 = 1.3939 Australian dollars)

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