Crown Melbourne faces fresh allegations of bringing overseas VIPs into Australia without the necessary customs checks.
The casino denied any wrongdoing in July 2019 when a joint investigation revealed Crown Resorts performed illegal actions to entice mega-rich Chinese gamblers to its Melbourne casino. 60 Minutes, The Age, and The Sydney Morning Herald based their report on official statements and a dossier of leaked emails.
Fresh allegations have come to light after a whistleblower came forward. The former Crown employee, who drove a limousine for Crown, has pointed the finger with some serious allegations. A culture of drugs, prostitution, violence against women are among the allegations leading to calls for a royal commission.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie and Victorian state MP Fiona Patten have joined forces after hearing the allegations. The pair are releasing a video of the limo driver’s claims, stating he is a credible witness.
Newspaper The Age published a video featuring the anonymous whistleblower using a voice synthesizer to protect his identity. Some of the allegations are shocking.
“Whatever gets asked for, the answer is ‘yes’. No questions asked. The is no ‘No’ at Crown. Whatever a VIP asks for you’re expected to do it. Legal, illegal. It doesn’t matter. Crown is a law unto itself. The laws that the rest of us have to follow mean nothing to Crown. We call it ‘Crown Law’ where the government’s laws just don’t apply. They do what they want and no-one touches Crown. Even if it is illegal, you can get whatever you want at Crown.”
More allegations flow as the driver answers the question of how Chinese VIPs are brought into Australia. He alleges high rollers are flown into Australia and never have to go through customs. One gambler brought 15 suitcases with him on the private flight.
“Not one of those cases was checked. God knows what was in those bags, certainly, customs didn’t know what was in those bags.”
A spokesperson for Crown said the casino rejects the driver’s allegations. “If anyone has any allegation or evidence of unlawful conduct then they should contact the relevant authorities.”
Following the spokesperson’s advice would likely fall on deaf ears according to the whistleblower’s allegations. “If there is a crime at Crown, you don’t tell the Victoria Police, you tell Crown and they decide if they want to tell the police. Usually, they don’t. Drugs, bashings, beating up your partner, that stuff is never reported to the police.”
The driver claims Crown employees lose their jobs if they involve the police.
Tasmania’s MP Wilkie believes the allegations of the whistleblower and believes other whistleblowers will come forward and support a full inquiry.
“The pressure is just going to keep building. I would have thought it is in the Victorian and federal governments’ best interest to really bust this open and clear the air before they become part of the problem,” said Wilkie.
Ms Patten supports an inquiry into Crown but also the performance of the state regulator. The Reason Party MP said, “The Parliament has given huge concessions to the operators of Crown through the Casino Control Act and in return we demand they play by the rule or risk not having a licence to operate in Victoria at all. It’s that simple. I have been telling the Government that the gaming regulator, the VCGLR, is not doing their job properly.”
This is not the first time Crown has had allegations of wrongdoing at its door. Nineteen of its employees spent time in a Chinese jail after luring big spenders to Crown’s Melbourne and Perth casinos.
Jenny Jiang was one of those 19. She claims: “money was more important than the staff.” Jiang also claimed Crown fast-tracked visas for international gamblers and covered up illegal gambling promotional activities.
Crown is currently subject to an investigation regarding a $1.75 billion stock purchase. James Packer agreed to sell 19.9% of his holding in Crown to Melco Resorts. The problem lies in Melco’s CEO is the son of Stanley Ho who has links to triads and organised crime.
More recently, Crown found its name dragged through the mud with allegations of racism. NBA star Ben Simmons visited the casino when he returned home during post-season. Security allegedly turned Simmons away because he is black but allowed his white friends access. As a result, the story went global.