You won’t believe what one punter tried to get away with at an Australian casino

  • South Korean man arrested, later bailed, on suspicion of money laundering
  • Arrived at Brisbane’s Star City Casino with a ‘mouldy’ AUD$3.6 million in cash

The mystery of the mouldy millions may read like a Famous Five adventure, but this is one’s a real-life tale – and one that’s every bit as entertaining.

south korea money laundering man
Brisbane’s The Star casino was the site of the alleged money laundering scam

A high roller at an Australian casino has come to the attention of police after wagering with millions of dollars in cash – all of which had reportedly started to go mouldy. Aside from the unpleasant smell this presumably exuded, you might be wondering what’s so wrong with spending money that’s seen better days.

Technically, it’s not the condition of the South Korean VIP’s bills that alarmed casino staff – it was the fact that this was indicative of the money having been stashed somewhere for a long time, somewhere that they assumed wasn’t a bank.

$3.6 million in canvas bags

Quite often, the sort of people who are prone to stashing their cash in alternative places are the sort who tend to be eager for their money to avoid scrutiny. Hence the suspicion from casino staff that the monied gambler was looking to launder his lucre through Brisbane’s Star City casino, owned by The Star Entertainment Group.

Regardless of the provenance of the cash, the man reportedly appears to have been acting strangely to say the least, causing staff to raise the alarm.

The gambler requested their assistance in moving canvas bags containing $2.7 million (AUD$3.6 million) in cash from his room to the casino cage. Although the cash was vacuum sealed, it reportedly smelt musty and the elastic bands that contained each $10k bundle had begun to rot.

Character reference from South Korean military officer

Brisbane police stepped in and arrested the suspicious character, who was later released on $200k bail. That only occurred however after a glowing character reference was submitted on behalf of the man by a South Korean military officer.

Nevertheless, the suspect, named as Byongsam Song, remains accused of dealing in property linked to the proceeds of crime. In addition to Song, a man named Wan Il Choi also deposited a similarly funky smelling bundle of cash on May 1 at the Star Casino, and claimed to be Song’s boss. That $500k wad prompted local police to take a keen interest in proceedings.

Ahead of his trial, Byongsam Song remains on $200k bail and must stay at a specified home on the Gold Coast. Had the South Korean been sharper, he would have discovered that Star Casino’s staff are on top when it comes to identifying possible money laundering, having dealt with a Singaporean national who was later jailed for six months in 2016 after trying to wash $1 million dollars through the casino.

According to news reports however, Song appears to have made the casino’s job extremely easy after literally handing them his money. It remains to be seen how the man comes to account for his mouldy millions when the case comes to trial.

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