“[Mr Jeans] as recently as yesterday … told the board that we are completely compliant. We are a gold star customer,” Mr Alexander said during an media conference. The comments made headlines in several major newspapers.
But Mr Jeans told the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s inquiry on Friday that was “not an accurate statement” and did not reflect what he told Crown’s risk management committee on August 9 and board of directors of August 20.
Rather, Mr Jeans said he told Crown the media reports did not conflict with the findings of his compliance review, carried out from late 2018, that Crown’s anti-money laundering systems satisfied the requirements of Australia’s anti-money laundering laws.
Mr Jeans did find room for improvement, however, including that Crown’s “highly manual” transaction monitoring system should be automated. He told the inquiry he only reviewed the design and structure of Crown’s compliance systems, rather than whether they worked in practice.
The former British police officer and AUSTRAC-approved external auditor said he raised his concerns with Crown immediately about the misrepresentation of his views. Crown’s chief financial officer Ken Barton, who has since taken on the role of chief executive, assured him the company would not repeat the comments. Mr Alexander stepped down as executive chairman in January but remains a Crown director.
Minutes from Mr Jeans’ meeting with Crown’s risk management committee and board of directors, which Mr Alexander signed off on, presented to the inquiry recorded Mr Jeans as saying the media reports were “unwarranted and disproportionate”.
But Mr Jeans told the inquiry that also did not reflect what he had said in those meetings, as such a comment would have required a “significant degree of investigation” which was not within the scope of his work for Crown.
The NSW inquiry, which has the same powers as a royal commission, is considering whether Crown is a suitable company to hold the licence for its new $2.2 billion casino at Sydeny’s Barangaroo which is set to open its door in December.
Business reporter at The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.