Thu, Sep 22, 10:57am by Jonathan Zaun
Authorities in America and Australia are investigating Dan Bai Shun Jin, a Chinese-Australian VIP gambler, after he reportedly turned over an astonishing AUD$855 million at Crown Casino in Melbourne.
Jin has been under investigation by both the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) since 2013. That year, authorities were alerted to major discrepancies between Jin’s documented income and his status as a high-rolling ‘whale’ at major casinos across the world, including Las Vegas, Macau, Singapore in addition to Australia.
The investigation into Jin’s finances was triggered after authorities discovered his enormous rate of ‘turnover’ – or the amount of money he collectively bought in with and cashed out for using casino chips. According to an AFP submission to the Victorian Supreme Court, Jin turned over AUD$855 million between 2005 and 2013, including AUD$144 million in chip exchanges at the Crown alone from 2010 to 2013.
In the court documents, an AFP agent makes reference to the apparent extent of Jin’s gambling exploits:
“Jin’s gambling appeared to be astronomical.”
The suspected money laundering was forced to end in 2013, when Jin’s wife, Hongjie Ma, attempted to sell a California investment property valued at $1.7 million at the time. Ma and Jin purchased the home in 2009, primarily using funds transferred directly from Crown Casino to a Bank of America account. The AFP, which was already suspicious of Jin’s high-profile gambling, petitioned the Victoria Supreme Court to issue a restraining order preventing the sale from being finalised.
On September 16th of this year, Ma lost her appeal to the Court requesting that the order be removed, with a judge ruling that the AFP’s concerns were valid and substantiated by the evidence on hand:
“The evidence of Hongjie Ma and her witnesses all supported the fact that Jin is a big gambler, but no comment was made or explanation given as to how he is able to fund his very high-stakes gambling.”
With Ma’s appeal now exhausted, court documents released as part of the proceedings illuminated the extent of her husband’s suspected money laundering activities.
Jin claims to draw a USD$300,000 salary every six months while working in China, along with USD$200,000 in associated bonuses. However, he has yet to provide any documentation of this income to either the AFP or the IRS. Furthermore, Jin has never filed a tax return in Australia, despite his status as a citizen.
During the investigation, Jin has admitted to living a lavish, high-roller lifestyle in casinos around the world. Documents reveal that at one point he won AUD$17 million playing at Crown, while losing USD$6 million at the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip. On at least one occasion, Jin transferred SGD$6.3 million from an account in Singapore to Crown. Ma has also been linked to the alleged money laundering, at one point ‘loaning’ her husband AUD$800,000 for an extended gambling session.
Not surprisingly, a bombshell money laundering case linked to Australian casinos has drawn the ire of anti-gambling political force Senator Nick Xenophon.
In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Sen. Xenophon pointed to his long held view that the gambling industry can be exploited by criminal elements, especially within the realm of money laundering. According to Sen. Xenophon, his newly empowered coalition in the Parliament will seek to reduce the reporting threshold on gambling winnings from AUD$10,000 to AUD$1,000, among other laundering-related reforms:
“Around Australia today money laundering is taking place using pokie machines. If you’ve just done a crystal meth deal, you could launder proceeds of that through the pokies, because the reporting requirements are so anaemic,” he said.
“It’s about the casinos and pokies being used to provide a high-speed washing and drying service.”
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