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23-044MR Star provides $150 million for fines and penalties after ASIC raises concerns
The Star Entertainment Group Ltd (The Star) has provided for fines and penalties of $150 million from alleged non-compliance with anti-money laundering laws in its financial report for the half-year ended 31 December 2022 after ASIC raised concerns.
Following a review of The Star’s financial report for the year ended 30 June 2022, ASIC raised concerns that no provision had been recorded for likely fines and penalties (despite some uncertainties as to their amount) for non-compliance by The Star with Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing laws. This review was completed as part of ASIC’s financial reporting surveillance program. These alleged non-compliances are the subject of an AUSTRAC investigation.
ASIC’s financial reporting surveillance program aims to improve the quality of financial reporting and to ensure financial reports have been prepared in accordance with the law, supporting investor confidence and the integrity of Australia’s capital markets.
ASIC reminds preparers of financial reports that consideration should be given to the need for and adequacy of provisions. ASIC also recently emphasised the importance of making adequate provisions in financial reports (22-333MR).
ASIC conducts regular reviews on a risk-basis of the financial reports of selected listed companies and other significant public interest entities to monitor compliance with the Corporations Act 2001 and accounting standards.
Accounting standard AASB 137 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets (AASB 137) requires a provision to be made where a reliable estimate can be made of the amount of the obligation. Some companies may assert that no reliable estimate can be made of an obligation due to uncertainties and so no provision is required to be recorded.
AASB 137 makes it clear that ‘The use of estimates is an essential part of the preparation of financial statements and does not undermine their reliability. This is especially true in the case of provisions, which by their nature are more uncertain than most other items in the statement of financial position. Except in extremely rare cases, entities will be able to determine a range of possible outcomes and can therefore make an estimate of the obligation that is sufficiently reliable to use in recognising a provision.’