As bad as it sounds: Crown Resorts allows criminal to gamble away $6 million

Oliver Noah

Joseph Wong Kiia Tai, in other words, the person who gambled away his ill-gained $6 million in the Australian casino giant Crown Resort, was placed in the United Nations sanction list for aiding and abetting former Liberian president Charles Taylor. 

Joseph Wong Kiia Tai was imprisoned in 2012 for 50 years of prison for unacceptable crimes against humanity. The story behind stands when Charles Taylor in order to fund the war stripping the country’s rainforests bare. By that time Tai, the head of the Oriental Timber Company was granted logging rights to a quarter of Liberia’s rainforests, which is one-sixth of all Africa’s remaining rainforests. The chance was used by Kiia Tai, of avoiding taxes on the timber and instead constantly supplying Taylor with all required arms. This was the primary violation of a UN arms embargo. 

“At the time, Taylor was intervening in a civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone, for which he was later also convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Kiia Tai was accused by the UN of supporting the Taylor regime in an effort to destabilize Sierra Leone and gain illicit access to diamonds”. The report published later in 2015 said. 

The Casino Giant 

It was reported in Australia’s ABC News, that Crown Resort the casino giant in Australia, had permitted Indonesian businessmen as well as international criminals to gamble at their casino, despite acknowledging the imposed sanctions on him. The sanctions included a travel ban as well. 

According to the ABC, Joseph Wong Kiia Tai lost over $6 million while gambling in the Crown Resort Australia, and although there are no specific dates mentioned, the period is marked from 2004 to 2015, which definitely includes the time of sanctions being imposed. It is obvious that he traveled as a junket guest, flying on his private jets, despite the travel ban. 

There are some further questions about how the casino is generally inquiring its VIP clients and whether it is or it is not adhering to anti-money laundering procedures at all. 

Some of the documentaries accuse the operator of exploiting loopholes in the visa system to track VIPs into Australia, without any appropriate checks and visa controls. This can stand out as a big issue in the future as well, as it tells a lot about the improper security of the country. Though if international criminals can simply fly to the country with private jets and not be checked, this can not be only the operator’s fault, but the government’s as well. 

The Australian Department of Home Affairs confirmed to the channel that it was fully aware of Joseph’s visit to the Crown Resort and that it “thoroughly investigates instances of misuse of the visa system and takes action to mitigate against further occurrences, where appropriate.”

According to the UN report, Kiia Tai has provided military and financial support for Taylor’s regime, which was engaged in one of the most infamous civil wars, that ended up with 150,000 people killed. 

Despite the fact and the government’s attitude towards the case, Crown Resort’s spokesperson still stood on the position of not having any interest by being used in criminal elements, leaving $6million fiat money on its behalf.