Huge anti-laundering fine for Australian gambling firm

Paul Jevtovic, chief of Australia's financial intelligence body AUSTRAC: gambling firm Tabcorp has been fined $34 million after a case brought by the body

Gambling giant Tabcorp was Thursday slapped with the largest civil fine in Australian corporate history for breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

The Australian-listed firm, which has a betting shop network, online wagering business and a broadcasting and media arm built around Sky Racing, was ordered to cough up Aus$45 million (US$34 million).

The firm was hit with the penalty after the Federal Court found Tabcorp broke the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 108 times over five years in a case brought by financial intelligence body AUSTRAC.

"Failing to uphold a robust AML/CTF programme creates opportunities for serious and organised crime and terrorist groups to conceal the movement and use of illicit funds for attacks and crimes against Australian citizens," said AUSTRAC chief Paul Jevtovic.

"In our view, Tabcorp had a corporate culture indifferent to meaningful AML/CTF compliance and risk mitigation until we intervened."

Among the breaches were a failure to report suspicious behaviour relating to money laundering and credit card fraud in a timely manner, and not having a compliant programme to manage the risks.

Tabcorp chief executive David Attenborough said the company was "focused on being the industry leader in regulatory compliance across all of our operations".

"We remain firmly committed to continuing to work co-operatively with AUSTRAC into the future," he added.

Tabcorp shares fell 0.44 percent in afternoon trade.