SYDNEY (AFP) – A former Vietnamese refugee shot dead on a Sydney street corner had laundered up to Aus$1 billion ($830 million) at Australian casinos as he cleaned up cash for criminal syndicates, reports said.
Pete Tan Hoang, an orphan who arrived in Australia as a refugee but went on to become a citizen, was gunned down in a Sydney suburb in September.
“We have certainly considered that he was involved in drug trafficking and moving money through casinos,” New South Wales police homicide squad commander Mick Willing told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, adding this could have led to his death.
Hoang, 36, is thought to have been a key money launderer in Australia, receiving millions in cash from criminal syndicates that he then laundered through gambling.
Although he was banned from some casinos, including The Star in Sydney, others gave him preferential treatment as a high-roller, gifting him flights, luxury accommodation, alcohol and cash payments, the ABC and Fairfax reported late Thursday.
In 2012, a compliance manager from Melbourne’s Crown Casino told a court case that Hoang bought gambling chips worth Aus$75 million between 2000 and 2012 which equalled a gambling turnover of at least Aus$225 million, the reports said.