SYDNEY (Reuters) – An Australian court signed off on a A$450 million ($300 million) fine for Blackstone-owned owned casino operator Crown Resorts for breaking anti-money laundering laws, ending the darkest chapter in the company’s history.
The company, dominated by billionaire founder James Packer before he agreed to sell last year, agreed to the payment in May after allegations over wide-ranging governance problems sparked inquiries in all the states in which it operated, plus an investigation by the financial crime watchdog.
But the fine needed the sign-off of the federal court, which approved the penalty, Australia’s third-largest corporate fine, on Tuesday.
“The penal orders reflect the serious and unacceptable nature of the contraventions”, judge Michael Lee said in a ruling.
The fine was “appropriate to deter both repetition of contravening conduct by Crown or … by other reporting entities who may seek to prefer profit over proper risk management”.
Crown, which was bought by Blackstone after the events at the centre of the scandal took place, said in a statement that the court approval brings an end to the historical anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing “failures at Crown”.
Blackstone was not immediately available for comment.
The fine takes Crown’s total penalties to A$680 million since it was rocked by accusations of ignoring organised crime and employee safety in hearings since 2020.
($1 = 1.4959 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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