Author: Niall Hearty 17 November 2022
Niall Hearty of financial crime specialists Rahman Ravelli considers the companies’ situation.
The Australian financial crime watchdog has begun an investigation into betting firms Sportsbet and Bet365 regarding money laundering suspicions.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) announced that it had “reasonable grounds to suspect” that UK firm Bet365 and Australia-based Sportsbet had contravened or were still contravening multiple sections of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. External auditors are to be appointed to investigate the suspected non-compliance.
Austrac’s chief executive, Nicole Rose, added to the announcement by saying that these investigations were an opportunity for other gambling companies to improve their standards to ensure they are complying with money laundering laws.
It is clear that Austrac is not afraid to take action against any organisation that does not appear to be complying with the regulations. Two months ago, the watchdog began a similar investigation into the owner of Ladbrokes, Entain.
The recent developments will be far from welcome news for Bet365 and Sportsbet. They have both steadfastly denied any wrongdoing and have stated that they have robust policies in place and continue to invest heavily in anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing measures. But no corporate entity will relish the imposition of external auditors.
Eight years ago, in the UK, an investigation by West Yorkshire Police led to the conviction of an individual for theft and money laundering offences. This resulted in the UK’s Gambling Commission conducting its own investigation into potential AML weaknesses at Bet365.
In that instance, Bet365 cooperated fully with the Gambling Commission and agreed that any lessons learned should be shared with the whole gaming industry. It now remains to be seen whether Bet365 did indeed learn from that regulatory investigation.
Niall has a wealth of corporate crime expertise and an ability to coordinate global bribery and corruption cases. His achievements in such investigations have made him a logical choice for corporate clients.