Criminal Network Accused of Laundering Cocaine Money through Casinos

- September 14, 2015 By Oliver Young -


Andrew McManus was arrested for allegedly taking part in cocaine money laundering through casinos. (Image: Norm Oorloff)

Andrew McManus, an Australian promoter, and four other individuals were accused of being part of a criminal network that laundered cocaine money through US and Australian casinos. The amount of cash laundered is, reportedly, around $5 million.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, McManus was arrested in a joint action of New South Wales (NSW) Police and FBI. He was taken in Melbourne Airport on Thursday after four other syndicate members were arrested as well. The money laundering gang included drug kingpin Craig Haeusler, pastry shop owner Zeki Atilgan, King Cross solicitor Michael Croke and American businessman Owen Hanson Jr.

The most interesting person of arrested people is definitely McManus who has been working on tours by Aerosmith, Whitney Houston, Kiss, Motley Crue and Fleetwood Mac. The police has been monitoring him from the moment they caught ex cage-fighter Sean Carolan with a black suitcase with AU$700,000, which is approximately $493,000, in Hilton’s hotel in Sydney back in 2011.

The Cash Found Was Most Likely Proceeds from a Cocaine Deal

Once the cash was confiscated from Carolan, the ex fighter told the police that the suitcase belonged to Hanson who allegedly had been gambling and preventing the loss of any more money. The promoter later stated that the cash was given to Hanson in order to repay the deposit for a tour of the US band ZZ Top. According to McManus, Hanson had paid the money for the Australian tour to happen.

The NSW Organised Crime Squad Head, Scott Cook, said that the money was most likely proceeds from a cocaine deal. According to the information gathered by the authorities, the cash was supposed to go to The Star Casino where a pro player would launder it and cash it in Las Vegas casinos. However, there is neither indication nor proof that the casinos were aware of the illegal activities taking place on their property.

Detective Superintendent Cook didn’t fail to mention how successful “following the money” could be and pointed out the bust as the perfect proof for that.

The Police Will Continue the Investigation until Everything is Clear

According to Cook, the authorities were very committed to the investigation and they’ve provided good results for now. He highlighted that “it is challenging, it’s very difficult,” but also he pointed out that it was worth doing. He went on explaining that the investigation was facing many jurisdictionally challenges, but they were overcoming it by partnering with the Australian Crime Commission, FBI, NSW Crime Commission and the Australian Federal Police.

Last year the NSW police raided two properties owned by McManus where they collected $68,000 cash, documents, drugs, steroids and electronic equipment. Nevertheless, his lawyer, Nick Hanna, made a statement saying that his client would defend the charges against him.

This case is not the first time that Las Vegas casinos have been part of alleged money laundering schemes. For example, not that long ago, Caesars Entertainment was facing money laundering charges. Nevertheless, the company managed to reach a deal with the Department of Justice that included a $20 million fine.



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