Crown Resorts May Have Fed Indonesian Governor’s Illegal Gambling Habit

Posted on: September 29, 2022, 10:20h. 

Last updated on: October 20, 2023, 10:46h.

The governor of the Indonesian province of Papua, Lukas Enembe, continues to be the focus of a criminal investigation over alleged embezzlement charges. New information that he may have gambled away government funds at a Crown Resorts property in Australia recently emerged.

Lukas Enembe
Lukas Enembe, the governor of the Indonesian province of Papua, speaks with reporters last year. He faces accusations that he stole government funds to gamble, some of which he may have spent at Crown Resorts’ Crown Perth in Australia. (Image: Antara)

Enembe has been in the spotlight since 2021 after someone tipped off Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission that he was pilfering funds. Since then, accusations have surfaced that he led a life of gambling and lavish spending.

Among the accusations, Enembe reportedly sent at least $3.5 million to an online casino and spent $39K on a watch. Australia’s ABC News reports that investigators are now targeting Crown Casino in Perth and “suspicious” bank deposits that showed up at two Australian banks.

Enembe’s annual salary is only around $7,764. Authorities said they’ve traced $36.2 million the governor has allegedly taken since 2017, which he then spent to fuel his lifestyle. Officials say they believe that he embezzled “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Caught on Tape

Investigators accuse Enembe of using funds that were part of a special autonomy account for Papua. They suspect he used several bank accounts, including those of his children, to mask his activity and to try and hide the money trails.

The country’s Centre for Financial Transaction Reporting and Analysis (PPATK) identified the destination of some of the transactions. Among these are questionable deposits at Crown’s Perth Casino. Enembe allegedly used the money to gamble and cover other venue expenses.

There is reportedly video footage at various casinos that show him gambling. Another media outlet, Tempo Magazine, claims that a bank manager in Papua also rented a private jet for Enembe worth $50K. That was for a trip he took to Brisbane on July 10, returning to Indonesia four days later.

So far, the governor has not officially responded to these allegations. The Anti-Corruption Commission has called him twice to appear, but he has refused both times. He argues that he is in poor health and cannot leave his home.

Sitting on a Gold Mine

Enembe has previously claimed that he came into his wealth honestly through ownership of a gold mine in Papua.

But he hasn’t backed up his claim on paper, and no one in Papua can find any ownership records. The chairman of the province’s mining community, Dolpinus Weya, has gone on record saying that Enembe’s story is “untrue” and is only an attempt to “cover up the corruption case.”

A mob of supporters is currently guarding the entrance to Enembe’s home. They refuse to let anyone get close to the home’s entrance to carry out what some supporters call a “political witch hunt.”