A former employee of James Packer’s Crown Casino who spent a month in a Chinese jail cell alongside prostitutes and drug dealers claims the business engineered a sophisticated scheme to bring big time gamblers to Australia.
Jenny Jiang was one of 19 employees arrested after Crown’s alleged attempts to lure big spenders to their Melbourne and Perth casinos prompted a Chinese government anti-corruption operation in October 2016.
In a scathing interview with 60 Minutes as part of a six month joint investigation with The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Ms Jiang claimed the multi-million dollar casino company was concerned more with profits than with employee welfare.
Despite warnings from the Chinese government that they were being monitored, Ms Jiang said when she approached her employers, they promised her she was not doing anything illegal.
She said ‘money was more important than the staff’ for Crown, as they were willing to jeopardise her safety – and that of other local employees – to draw in international customers.
Jenny Jiang (pictured) a former Crown employee who spent a month in a Chinese prison said the company was fast-tracking visas for Chinese gamblers to visit Australia
‘They don’t deserve a licence in Australia. They used the staff and then dumped us like used napkins. All the staff have criminal records now and in China that is a big deal.’
Ms Jiang was employed as Crown’s administer in Shanghai, and went from a typical housewife in China to convincing clients worth hundreds of millions of dollars they should make the trip to Australia to visit Crown’s ‘luxury hotels’.
‘I’d never seen anything like it, so much wealth.
‘Customers were losing about $10 million in 15-20 minutes,’ she said. ‘That’s when I first realised the kind of job I had agreed to take on.’
Because gambling and the promotion of gambling is illegal in mainland China, Jenny was tasked with encouraging businessmen to travel down under to experience Crown’s ‘luxury hotels’.
She was encouraged to offer lucrative incentives to seal the deal, including gifting Hermes scarves and free use of a private jet.
‘We were told by Crown we were not doing anything illegal. But right now I realise that was a lie.’
Ms Jiang claims Crown not only fast-tracked the visas of international gamblers, but sought to cover up an illegal gambling promotion operation across mainland China.
Shocking claims have been made that a criminal syndicate known as ‘The Company’ used Crown-linked bank accounts and high roller rooms to launder funds (file image)
She said her desire to speak out about the mistreatment of staff and illegal activity comes despite the company offering her a $60,000 sum in exchange for silence.
Ms Jiang also claims she has jeopardised her safety and well-being by lifting the lid on internal practices.
Crown is accused of working with the consulate office in China to expedite visas for hundreds of Chinese nationals who promised to spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on single trips to its casinos in locations across Australia.
The investigation also determined Crown was colluding with members of a Chinese criminal syndicate to launder funds.
A criminal syndicate known as ‘The Company’ allegedly used Crown-linked bank accounts and high roller rooms to launder funds, the joint investigation findings suggested.
Asian criminal syndicates, known as triads, have been linked to Chinese junket operators, who are licensed to bring in wealthy punters to Australian casinos.
Now, the investigation alleges Crown was willing to jeopardise Australian peace of mind and security by ‘getting into bed’ with these ‘dangerous criminals’.
Former Royal Hong Kong Police Commander Steve Vickers described the triads as ‘complex organisations which need to be kicked around very hard’.
While he was hesitant to offer any exact examples of triad crimes, former commander Vickers said he valued his life above commenting.
‘Being a triad member is a huge red light to me. These people are well-funded. Some of them are quite dangerous. I’m judicious in my comments. I have taken triads on for many times for many years but I’m also not suicidal at this stage.’
One of Crown Melbourne’s high roller rooms where gamblers bet thousands a hand
These junket operators specialise in marketing overseas casinos to Chinese high-stakes gamblers and can arrange trips and credit for them.
They manage the gamblers’ local funds and liaise with the casinos, who pay them to drum up business.
While some junket operators are legitimate, others are controlled by Asian criminal syndicates according to the US Government, industry analysts, and Australian law enforcement.
One of these criminal syndicates, The Company, has been linked to criminal activity in Australia for decades.
A 2013 interview between Australian Federal Police and one junket operator, released to the investigation, revealed he was hired by The Company because he had contacts at Crown Casino.
Roy Whye Wah Moo said he was recruited by The Company due to his ‘mutual trust,’ with Crown and because laundering money through the casino was ‘easier than using a bank.’
In December 2013, former financial advisor Moo of Doncaster East, Victoria was jailed for two years after he admitted to using Melbourne Crown Casino linked bank accounts to launder $682,000.
Moo was an authorised representative of the Ang Junket Group – which arranged trips to Crown Casino for Asian visitors – and conducted financial transactions using a Crown Patrons Identity.
Roy Whye Wah Moo (pictured) was captured on CCTV laundering money through Crown for Chinese gangs in 2013
The arrest was the first confirmation The Company was exploiting Crown to launder money – with Moo revealing to police it was easier to move ‘black money’ through Crown than a bank.
CCTV vision of Moo uncovered during the investigation shows him dumping bundles of cash from a plastic bag onto the counter of a Crown cashier.
This money was then wired via Crown’s accounts to members of The Company in Hong Kong, the investigation found.
Australian Billionaire James Packer owns a 36 per cent stake in Crown – though is in the process of selling down to 20 per cent in September.
Mr Packer last week ‘adamantly’ denied any knowledge of the conduct of the company’s operations in China in a letter through his lawyer to The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes.
He has not held an executive position at Crown Resorts since 2012 and wrapped up his roles as Chairman in August 2015 and a board member in December 2015.
According to the lawyer’s letter Mr Packer played only a ‘passive role’ at Crown.
Crown Resorts Barangaroo casino and hotel project in Sydney is currently under construction and due to open in 2022.
The $2 billion casino is aimed at the high-roller market and is expected to receive a large portion of its business from Chinese nationals on gambling trips.
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia, Crown Resorts said the company has framework in place to protect against money-laundering.
‘There is currently a class action being pursued in which Crown is defending. We are therefore unable to comment on specific issues,’ a spokesperson said.
‘On the subject of junket operators and individuals, Crown does not comment on its business operations. Crown has a comprehensive Anti-Money Laundering framework in place which is subject to regulatory supervision by AUSTRAC.’
The class action was lodged after Crown’s share price plummeted following the 2016 arrests in China.
Crown Resorts Barangaroo casino and hotel project in Sydney is currently under construction and due to open in 2022