The wife of a suspected Chinese-Australian money launderer who allegedly turned over more than $850 million at Crown Casino has failed in her bid to access a Californian luxury home held under proceeds of crime laws. Casino money.
High-stakes gambler Dan Bai Shun Jin is under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service in the United States and Australian Federal Police over suspicions he was involved in large-scale illegal money laundering at casinos in Australia, the US, Macau and Singapore.
His wife, Hongjie Ma, recently applied to the Victorian Supreme Court to lift a restraining order on a multimillion dollar property in Fremont, California but was unsuccessful, as the court agreed that the purchase could have been made with laundered funds.
The house was seized along with three other properties in 2013 as part of the investigation into what has been described by law enforcement as "astronomical" levels of gambling by Mr Jin.
A Chinese Australian is suspected of money laundering after gambling $850 million at Crown Casino over eight years.
Police launched the probe after Mr Jin allegedly turned over $855 million at Crown Casino between 2005 and 2013, according to a Supreme Court judgement.
It is also claimed Mr Jin made more than $140 million chip "buy-ins" at the casino since 2010 and had used multiple identity documents, including six Australian passports.
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Mr Jin disputes the figures, which were provided by a Crown compliance manager, although he did admit to "very high-stakes gambling and being involved in moving millions of dollars".
Those activities, detailed in a Supreme Court judgement, include: the transfer of $SG6.3 million ($6.2 million) from Singapore to Crown for gambling, winning $17 million at Crown, and losing $US6 million ($8 million) at the Venetian Casino in Las Vegas.
Mr Jin claimed that he earned a base salary in China of $US300,000 with bonuses and shares but no documents were provided by Ms Ma in her submission to support that, the judgement said.
The AFP agent investigating the matter submitted that her suspicions partly arose from the magnitude of apparent discrepancies between Mr Jin's gambling and his 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," Judge John Dixon wrote.
Neither of the two have been charged with a criminal offence.
The Californian house was purchased in 2009 for $US1.7 million, mostly using funds transferred from Crown to a Bank of America account jointly held by Mr Jin and his wife. The investment property was later transferred in to Ms Ma's name.
A real estate listing for the house, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, describes it as having four bedrooms and three bathrooms, along with granite counters and cathedral ceilings.
A US property website estimates the house is now worth $US2.7 million.
According to the judgement, Ms Ma submitted that the AFP investigation was relying on unspecified intelligence obtained from the IRS and that there was no detail on how her husband had laundered money.
She also submitted that there was no evidence of any other offence that had tainted the money used to buy the house and that the case was nothing more than "mere idle wandering" by the agent investigating it.
Judge Dixon rejected Ms Ma's application to have the restraining order on the house removed, saying that the court understood the reasoning behind the AFP agent's suspicions.
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A Crown spokesperson would not say whether Mr Jin still gambles at the casino or when they became aware of any suspicious activity.
"Crown does not comment on the specifics of any individual especially where legal proceedings are involved," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said Crown cooperated with law enforcement agencies to assist with intelligence gathering and operations, which may include giving evidence in court proceedings.