The developer, owner and operator of casino gaming and entertainment casino resorts in Cyprus, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, released a reply to money laundering alerts from Moneyval, the European Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and Terrorism Financing.
The warning had claimed that after a visit by its representatives to a Melco-owned place in Cyprus, the country could become a money-laundering destination.
The venue is a gaming and entertainment company and affiliate of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, namely Cyprus Casinos, also known as C2.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment responded that it welcomed “a strong and compliant regulatory framework” and partnered with regulators in the Eastern Mediterranean country “to implement all AML regulations” and was “dedicated to industry-leading and best practise AML/CTF procedures in all our operations”.
A number of casinos are owned and operated by the brand, all with the same name, and a report emerged from Moneyval following a visit to the Limassol establishment at C2.
The committee, which is an’ independent monitoring mechanism within the Council of Europe, answerable directly to the Committee of Ministers,’ said the money laundering prevention systems showed’ weaknesses’ and said the establishment was:“Currently operating at or beyond the limits of its AML/CTF compliance and risk management system.”
It also stated that the Casino employees: “Appear to not fully appreciate the quantitative magnitude of those risks when attached to operations of the casino’s current size – much less its anticipated future size.”
Moneyval reportedly indicated that Casinos Cyprus should be blocked from increasing its gambling operations in the light of the findings until such time as it can demonstrate some effectiveness.