Department of Internal Affairs to file civil proceedings against SkyCity over anti-money laundering, countering terrorism financing laws

The Department of Internal Affairs says it intends to file civil penalty proceedings against SkyCity Casino Management Limited (SCML) in the High Court. 

The company said the proceedings are related to alleged non-compliance with anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing laws by SkyCity Casino Management Limited (SCML).  

SCML is a subsidiary of SkyCity and holds casino operator's licence for operations in Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown.  

In a statement to the local share market, SkyCity said draft pleadings have been provided to the casino setting out five separate causes of action. 

"Those causes of action allege significant compliance issues in relation to the Act. These are largely, although not exclusively, historical matters. Some matters relate to incidents of non-compliance which have previously been self-reported to the Department," the statement said. 

SkyCity said it was disappointed it had "not met the standard to which it needs to hold itself, and this has resulted in the action taken by the Department".  

"SCML and SkyCity will engage constructively with the Department in relation to the proposed proceedings, with a view to resolving these matters expeditiously. Given that the matter will be before the Court, it would be inappropriate for SkyCity to comment further at this stage," the statement said.  

SkyCity said if the High Court accepted the Department of Internal Affairs claims, the maximum penalty SkyCity could face is $8 million in total. 

"In the event the Department’s claim was to be accepted in whole or in part by the High Court, SCML would be subject to a civil penalty to be imposed by the Court as set out in subpart 3 of the Act," the statement said.  

"Under the Act and relevant case law, SkyCity and the Department assess SkyCity's maximum liability in relation to these claims as being NZ$8 million in aggregate. SkyCity is committed to continuing to uplift its processes and systems, particularly with respect to AML/CFT and host responsibility matters." 

It comes after the Department of Internal Affairs applied to temporarily suspend SkyCity's gambling license after a complaint from a former customer.