The wife of a suspected Chinese-Australian money launderer who allegedly turned over more than $636 million at the Crown Casino And Entertainment Complex in Melbourne has failed in her bid to win back a luxury California home currently being held under proceeds of crime laws.
According to a report from Victorian newspaper The Age, Hongjie Ma is married to Dan Bai Shun Jin, who is under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service in the United States and the Australian Federal Police over suspicions that he was involved in large-scale illegal money laundering at casinos in Australia, Nevada, Macau and Singapore.
Ma recently applied to the Victoria Supreme Court in order to have a restraining order on the multi-million dollar property in the city of Fremont lifted but failed as the judges ruled that the purchase could have been made utilizing laundered funds. The house had been seized along with three other properties in 2013 as part of an investigation into what was described by law enforcement officials at the time as “astronomical” levels of gambling by Jin.
The Age reported that police launched its probe into Jin after he allegedly turned over some $640 million at the Victoria casino between 2005 and 2013 with officials additionally claiming that he had made chip buy-ins worth more than $104 million since 2010 utilizing multiple identity documents including six Australian passports. The figures submitted by the Crown Casino And Entertainment Complex’ compliance manager allegedly also show that he transferred some $4.64 million from an account in Singapore to the Melbourne casino for gambling purposes before winning $12.73 million.
Jin has disputed the figures despite admitting to “very high stakes gambling and being involved in moving millions of dollars” with the judgment from the Victoria Supreme Court moreover detailing that he lost $6 million at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.
Court documents furthermore show that Jin claimed to earn a base salary in China of $300,000 with bonuses and shares but Ma was unable to provide documentation to support this contention while the Australian Federal Police declared that its suspicions partly arose from the magnitude of the apparent discrepancy between the amounts being gambled and the couple’s known income.
“The evidence of Hongjie Ma and her witnesses all supported the fact that Jin is a big gambler but no comment was made or explanation given as to how he is able to fund his very high-stakes gambling,” wrote Victoria Supreme Court Justice John Dixon.
The newspaper detailed that the couple, who are still to be charged with any criminal offences, purchased the California house in 2009 for $1.7 million using a joint bank account largely funded by transfers from the Crown Casino And Entertainment Complex. The property located in the San Francisco Bay area was later transferred into Ma’s name and is now valued at around $2.7 million.
For its part, a spokesperson for casino owner Crown Resorts Limited stated that the company would fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies and assist with intelligence gathering and operations, which could include giving evidence in criminal court.
“Crown [Resorts Limited] does not comment on the specifics of any individual especially where legal proceedings are involved,” read a statement from Crown Resorts Limited.