New Zealand’s top organised crime fighting agency OFCANZ has raised eyebrows by claiming not to know about a potential new system for money laundering at Auckland’s Sky City casino.
The Organised Financial Crime Agency, a division of the Police, was the subject of an Official Information Act request by Auckland mayoral candidate Penny Bright, who wanted to know what information OFCANZ holds on the use of a tickets-in/tickets-out system (TITO) by money-launderers at casinos.
TITO is a system where gamblers exchange cash for tickets that they then use to gamble, before cashing in their tickets at the end of the night for clean money. Canada’s FINTRAC organised crime agency has identified TITO as another avenue for money laundering. In most cases, says FINTRAC, casinos are not fully aware how their systems are being used.
TITO systems are employed at Auckland’s Sky City Casino which has won approval to install even more gaming machines in return for building a convention centre.
Mayoral candidate Penny Bright, who is campaigning on an anti-corruption platform, asked for “any information held by OFCANZ on how TITO can be used for money laundering at casinos”. She was therefore stunned at the official reply: “OFCANZ holds no information on this matter”.
Under the law, OIA answers are required to be accurate and truthful, meaning New Zealand’s premier police agency has absolutely no information on the use of TITO for money laundering.
In its OIA answer, OFCANZ also reveals it was never asked to report on the possibility of increased money-laundering at Sky City as a result of the extra machines.
FINTRAC in Canada has found extensive use of casinos there to launder money for drug syndicates and terrorist organisations.