The Australian government has ordered a probe into the fast track visa approvals of the Chinese High-rollers visiting the country’s largest casino operator, the Crown Resorts’ luxury casino resorts.
The authorities will investigate the allegations of immigration authorities giving preferential treatment to Crown Resorts’ Chinese customers. The investigations are announced after reports emerged that the casino operator was partnering with drug traffickers to attract wealthy Chinese gamblers to its casinos.
Moreover, there are allegations of money laundering through the company’s Melbourne casino.
“It’s my view that there are sufficient concerns raised at least to warrant further investigations,” Christian Porter, Australia’s attorney-general, told parliament when he announced the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity would investigate the matter.
Crown Resorts has rejected the allegations and rubbished the media reports. It has also confirmed that they would assist the investigators.
“We believe these allegations are ill-informed and an attempt to smear the company,” the company said in its statement.
A Financial Times report quotes Rex Patrick, one of two Centre Alliance senators, saying: “We know that both [the ruling Liberal-National coalition and opposition Labor party] have benefited from donations from the gambling industry.The refusal of the major parties to support a parliamentary inquiry leaves the public to conclude that both the coalition and Labor are beholden to their donors.”
Earlier this year James Packer who was the single largest stakeholder in the Australian Crown Resorts sold 20 percent stake in the company to Macau-based Melco Resorts and Entertainment in May.
Following the reports and amidst the announcement of an investigation Crown Resorts share prices have taken a hit and were down by almost 3 percent on Tuesday.