Casinos used by organised crime groups for money-laundering, says investigator

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 10 Apr 2014

PUTRAJAYA: Organised crime groups are believed to be laundering money by manipulating facilities provided by casinos to companies, an investigator revealed.

These groups use the "junket" accounts provided to companies that are genuine, licensed business operators registered with the casino, he added.

"Once registered with the casino, these companies will be given junket chips or rolling chips. Their customer will play (gamble at the casino) using those chips," said the investigator, who did not want to be named.

Money launderers used the facilities provided through the junket account and the company's relationship with the casinos to clean "the dirty money", he told reporters at a two-day seminar on money-laundering held at the Attorney-General's Chambers' hall here Thursday.

The investigator was asked for details after a presentation by Commercial Crime Investigation Department officer DSP Foo Wei Min, who spoke on a topic entitled Organised Crime's Efforts to Clean Its Dirty Money - Observation from Forensic Accounting.

DSP Foo had said some organised crime groups used these junket accounts at casino for money-laundering activities.

"They ask the customers to use the junket chips and pay later. If the customer gambles and loses the money, they have to pay back via transfer by junket accounts. When they pay the money, it becomes legal," he told about 100 participants from the banking and financial institutions as well as enforcement officers and media.

DSP Foo, who specialises in money laundering investigations, said it was the latest trend in money-laundering methods noted by the authorities.

He said more complicated methods of money-laundering involved barter trade where goods were used instead of money to avoid detection by the law.

Apart from that, DSP Foo said money-launderers also resorted to trading luxurious items such as gemstones.

"They buy jade and launder (it) as its worth is subjective. It can be RM1mil or RM2mil,” he added.

Meanwhile, law professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said attempts by enforcement agencies to freeze the property of any suspect should follow due process.

"There is room for enforcement agencies to abuse for their own benefit, under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.

"The enforcement agencies have so much power and this can be a temptation for corruption," said Dr Shad, who is Universiti Teknologi Mara's legal adviser and lecturer.

He said the aim should be to prevent the "dirty money" from leaving or entering the country, or benefiting any individual officer or department.

He said the provision for freezing of property under the Act should also provide some procedural safeguards for the accused.

"They have to create more procedures so that agencies have more accountability," he told reporters after presenting his topic entitled "The Constitution, The Right to Property and the Anti-Money Laundering Act.”

The Inland Revenue Board's Civil Investigation Division director Amnah Tawil said tax crime occurred when misreporting was done willfully and intentionally.

Amnah, who spoke on Money Laundering and Tax Evasion, said any illegal proceeds given to parents or children could cause them to be charged with abetting in money laundering.

"Any nominee being used to disguise the origin or nature of real (income) can also be charged with abetting money laundering," she added.
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