Blow By Blow of the Crown Casino Saga: Where's the Outrage?

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

Peter Hartcher of The Age: “How good is the nexus between gambling, crime, foreign interference and Australian politics?  A trove of internal emails leaked from Crown Resorts, reported this week by The Age, the Herald and 60 Minutes, gave Australia a rare glimpse of just how good it really is. After this week, Australia no longer has any excuse for wilful ignorance or feigned innocence.”

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Junket operators have been accused of ferrying wealthy Chinese gamblers to Australia. That junket company, it turns out, is backed by powerful Chinese triad organised crime gangs.

Hartcher points out that in 2015 crooks were brought into the country and plopped down $800 million in gambling business to Crown's gambling tables.

Crown is also accused of paying a brothel owner and alleged money launderer, Simon Pan, to lure rich Asian gamblers to its casinos in Australia.

Additionally, a former head of the nation's Border Force admitted to lobbying on behalf of Crown.  Two ministers and another MP had asked Roman Quaedvlieg to "smooth out" border procedures for Crown's big gamblers, he told Nine media. He refused to name the politicians. Point three, Hatcher writes.

From The Age:

On Monday we reported that a business partner of Crown Resorts, Tom Zhou, is an alleged criminal fugitive with an Interpol "red" notice issued against him for financial crime. He's supposed to be arrested as soon as he crosses any international border. Crown had been using Zhou to recruit rich Chinese gamblers to bet at its tables.

We also reported that Zhou is the head of several organisations deployed by the Chinese Communist Party's United Front Work Department covertly to establish party influence inside Australia. He travelled to Australia on at least one occasion on a gambling junket in the company of the cousin of Xi Jinping, President of China. The Australian Federal Police searched their plane but Zhou was allowed to fly out nonetheless. Point four.

Hartcher adds:

Australia's major political parties - both of them - have lost any sense of outrage on the people's behalf, lost any capacity to respond in the national interest. The independents and crossbench members took up the task. They came together on Wednesday to demand anew the reform that all of Australia can see is desperately needed - a federal anti-corruption body.

How can Australia possibly justify having an independent anti-corruption watchdog in every state, but none federally? Does a magic circle of saintly virtue repulse all temptation at the border of the Australian Capital Territory? Where the contracts are biggest, the picking richest, the temptations greatest, the protections weakest?

Jagajeet Chiba,

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