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Investigation Looks at Possible Money Laundered Through Pokies

22 October 2003

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald: "Claims that millions of dollars are being laundered through poker machines in Sydney clubs are being investigated by the Department of Gaming and Racing.

"A complaint to the department says that several people operate as loan sharks and money launderers in the clubs.

"Under the alleged scam, money launderers approach gamblers after a big win on the clubs' gaming machines and offer them cash on the spot. This avoids the gambler's wait for the club to issue a cheque for the winnings, as required for more than $1000.

"…The department's deputy head, Darrell Loewenthal, confirmed the department was investigating a specific complaint received last month, but refused to confirm further details. The department was also investigating similar matters, he said.

"The complainant, a well-placed industry insider, estimates one person alone has been paid millions of dollars in poker machine winnings over recent years, and questions how managements could not notice. The complaint also alleged a man who recently appeared in court on drug-related charges was a regular at one of the clubs.

"…The money laundering allegations come in the middle of the stoush between clubs and the State Government over increases in poker machine tax…"

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