Crown Resorts Casino Group Announces CEO Resignation
The CEO of Crown Resorts Ken Barton announced his resignation as the company is grappling with the consequences of multiple money laundering allegations. The company was also accused in nurturing mafia and organized crimes links.
News came right after a report from last week, which pronounced Crown Resorts unfit to operate the casino portion of its Crown Sydney skyscraper.
Crown Resorts is currently the biggest gaming and entertainment group in Australia. The public inquiry was conducted by the New South Wales Liquor and Gambling Authority.
The inquiry took a year to be completed. Its aim was to find out if Crown Resorts was fit to receive a license to operate its new facility in Sydney. The gambling regulator ordered the probe because of systematic issues at Crown’s existing casinos in Melbourne and Perth.
The allegations were first raised in 2014. The company recently completed construction work on it Sydney gambling venue, but there are no signs it will start operating anytime soon.
Commissioner Bergin’s Recommendations
Commissioner Patricia Bergin, a former Supreme Court judge made some recommendations to Crown Resorts in her final report. According to her, the operator needed to implement some significant cultural changes to be considered fit in the future.
Along with money laundering allegations, Bergin accused Crown Resorts of doing business with people linked to the mafia and the organized crime
Bergin also said that Crown Resorts had “poor corporate governance, deficient risk management” and “a poor culture”.
As for Barton himself, Bergin called him completely unfit to operate the company as a CEO, saying he showed a “breathtaking lack of care” regarding the money laundering allegations at the company.
Bergin’s allegations must still be officially adopted by the ILGA but in the meantime, the new casino facility at the A$2.2 billion Crown Sydney tower won’t be allowed to function.
Crown Resorts representatives stated that the company will consider the report strongly and will work with the ILGA and the State Government to implement the required changes.
Prior his resignation, Barton worked at Crown Resorts for more than ten years. His previous position was of chief financial officer.
Crown Resorts is majority owned by billionaire James Packer. Current chairman is Helen Coonan, who responded to the inquiry by saying that the company is “taking significant steps to improve in every area necessary, including its governance, compliance and culture”.
Australia’s main financial intelligence agency, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center is currently seeking to tackle any illegal activities, including money laundering and organized crime. AUSTRAC has previously urged casinos in the country to do more to fight money laundering and to report suspicious activity to the agency.
Source: “Australia: Casino group CEO steps down amid money laundering scandal”, DW, February 15, 2021