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Chinese Thieves Laundered Millions Through Australian Casinos

A team of Chinese con men stole hundreds of millions from the Bank of China, and laundered the money through Crown casinos and other gambling venues.

Chinese criminals convicted of embezzling over $605 million from the Bank of China say Crown and other Australian casinos were their venues of choice to launder the stolen money. Despite transactions involving huge amounts of cash, no red flags were observed by warning systems built into the gambling industry Down Under.

The Herald-Sun reported that at least $23.6 million was washed at Crown casinos by the ringleaders and their henchmen. One of the gang leaders, Yu Zhendong, told US authorities upon apprehension that Australia was the favored spot for laundering stolen money.

"We've been to the Crown in Melbourne and also the Gold Coast casino," said Yu. He admitted entering Australia illegally with bogus passport and paperwork.

Yu has been sentenced by a US court to serve 12 years in prison, while his two partners in the scheme are serving terms of 25 and 22 years.

As much as $7.5 million was moved to Crown casinos in a single transaction, but detection systems designed to prevent money laundering failed to alert casino officials. Crown executives declined comment while they ran internal investigations to determine how the embezzlers were able to avoid detection.

Published on June 20, 2009 by EdBradley

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