Posted: August 25, 2022, 6:41 AM.
Last updated: August 25, 2022, 6:41 AM.
A reputed member of the organized crime syndicate ‘Ndrangheta was allowed to gamble on Star Entertainment’s properties in Queensland years after being banned from the other Australian casinos.
The Star Gold Coast, pictured, where “Person A” was allowed to gamble until 2021, despite being banned from ‘Ndrangheta connections in other states since 2014. (Image: Star Entertainment)
This is the public inquiry into Star’s eligibility to continue to be licensed in Queensland for its Brisbane and Gold Coast locations. On Thursday, the investigation learned that the alleged mobster, known only as “Person 2,” slipped through the net because his name was spelled differently on casino records and media reports.
Those reports led to him being banned from casinos in Victoria in December 2014 and from properties in New South Wales in June 2015. But he still played at the tables of Star’s Treasury Casino in Brisbane and The Star Gold Coast until 2021.
Star faces regulatory pressure in Queensland, where it plans to open another resort soon, the AU$3.6 billion (US$2.55 billion) Queen’s Wharf development. The license review started on Tuesday, while the operator awaits the outcome of a similar investigation in New South Wales.
Both were triggered by Australian media reports alleging that Star had courted suspected criminals, foreign agents and fraudsters to gamble at his casinos, seeking profit from his anti-money laundering responsibilities.
The ‘Ndrangheta is not looking good for Star Entertainment. Hailing from Calabria, the “toe” of the Italian foot, the organization is believed to control 70 percent of the cocaine market in Europe and much of the illicit arms trade around the world. Revenues are estimated at $50 billion to $100 billion per year.
In Italy, the ‘Ndrangheta has surpassed Cosa Nostra and Camorra as the most powerful mafia group and is now one of the largest criminal organizations in the world.
The syndicate has established itself in more than 100 countries since the 1950s with the help of large-scale emigration from the area.
It has been present in Australia for over a century and has been dominating Italian-Australian organized crime along the country’s east coast since the early 1900s.
During Thursday’s hearing, Star’s interim CEO Geoff Hogg admitted that the operator should have been more sharp.
“Certainly, after looking at some of the situations… in hindsight, given our processes, our assessment and our policies, I think they weren’t as strong as they should have been,” he said.
On Tuesday, the investigation learned that the Hong Kong-based company Chow Tai Fook, which owns 25% of the Queen’s Wharf project, once had business ties with triad boss “Broken Tooth” Wan Kuok Koi, also no good for Star Entertainment.
This post Star Entertainment lets mafia figure gamble despite ban, investigation hears
was original published at “https://www.casino.org/news/star-entertainment-let-mafia-figure-gamble-despite-ban-inquiry-hears/”