News – AU – Victorian Government Announces Royal Commission for Crown Casino

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The Victorian government will set up a royal commission at Crown Resorts to test the gambling giant’s suitability to own its license to operate the Melbourne casino

The government announced Monday afternoon that former Federal Judge Raymond Finkelstein, QC, would lead the investigation. Shortly thereafter, Crown announced to the stock market that longtime director Harold Mitchell would step down from the company’s board of directors

The state government said in a statement that the move was in response to the “grave results” of the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) investigation into which Crown was found unable to obtain a casino license in its new own built Barangaroo complex

“Since receiving this report, the government has received advice on how best to proceed in Victoria,” the statement said in the statement. “The establishment of a royal commission will provide the best possible access to information on Crown Melbourne’s suitability for the possession of the Casino license guaranteed as the commission has the power to enforce witnesses and records ”

The government had already carried out a verification of Crown’s eligibility to hold its license, this verification is being carried out in parallel with the Royal Commission

“This is about ensuring that those who hold a casino license in Victoria adhere to the highest standards of honesty and integrity – and that they are accountable for their actions,” Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said in the statement

Mr Andrews did not attend the press conference Monday afternoon and had Gaming Secretary Melissa Horne answer questions Ms. Horne said the reports from the New South Wales investigation were “incredibly worrying”

“The Royal Commission will investigate the facts and the government and [state regulator] will take all necessary action after the investigation is complete. We will not tolerate any illegal behavior in our gaming industry”

NSW’s 18-month investigation into Crown, conducted by former Supreme Court Justice Patricia Bergin, looked at evidence that the casino operator was facilitating money laundering through its bank accounts and went with “Junket” -Tour Affiliate did business related to organized crime gangs of the Triad ignored the welfare of its employees in China before 19 were arrested there in 2016

Raymond Finkelstein QC will serve as Commissioner and Chairman of the Royal Commission at Crown Resorts and will make his recommendations through Jan. August 2021 to pass on

Mr. Finkelstein QC has been with the Victorian Bar for more than 40 years and has been the Queen’s Attorney since 1986

He was appointed federal judge in 1997 and had other notable appointments as vice president of the Copyright Tribunal of Australia and president of the Australian Competition Tribunal

He retired in 2011 as Federal Judge and President of the Competition Court and returned to the private practice of the Victorian Bar

Commissioner Bergin’s final report earlier this month found that Crown was unable to obtain a casino license in NSW due to these flaws The core problem was “poor corporate governance, inadequate risk management structures and processes and a poor corporate culture”

The bombing report resulted in the resignation of Ken Barton, Crown chief executive officer, and three directors, including former AFL chief Andrew Demetriou

Ms. Horne said the Victorian Gambling and Alcohol Regulation Commission had examined the 800-page Bergin investigative report since it was submitted in early February

“There were a number of important issues that we encountered [in this report] and we went through this report line by line, understood our commercial contracts, and sought legal advice as to the best response to these findings” said Mrs. Horne

“What we must also appreciate, however, is that there are hundreds of people, thousands of people working at Crown. We have to make sure we protect jobs, but we also do it so that a casino works properly”

Crown will continue to hold its license while the Royal Commission investigates. Despite repeated questioning, Ms. Horne would not yet commit to accepting all recommendations when submitted later this year

She said there was “a lot of water under the bridge” and the government would work with the Royal Commission to see what the results would be, “and then be ready to act”

On Monday afternoon, Mr. Demetriou’s resignation was followed by that of Crown Director, Mr. Mitchell, whom ILGA Chairman Philip Crawford had publicly asked to resign

Crown confirmed the resignation of the advertising identity in an operational announcement to the ASX shortly before 5 p.m.

Western Australia opened an investigation under the same powers of a royal commission into Crowns Perth Casino last week, leading to allegations that the Andrews government was tugging its feet in the face of key evidence on Crown’s flagship Southbank casino

The NSW investigation began in response to a 2019 disclosure of Crown’s activities by The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, and 60 Minutes

The Victorian government defied calls for an independent investigation into Crown for years, despite damned evidence in media reports and filed in the Bundestag

Ms. Horne defended the casino regulator, saying she had conducted reviews of Crown’s eligibility for licensing every five years

However, the Auditor-General found in 2017 that the regulator had not properly audited Crown’s high roller money laundering The Victorian Gambling and Alcohol Control Commission inspectors simply “did not pay enough attention to the major risk areas in casino operations “, stated the then financial watchdog of the state

Ms Horne announced the split of the VCGLR and the establishment of a separate casino regulator in response to the results of the Bergin investigation. She said there would be a government-led investigation into the effectiveness of the VCGLR and its reform

Gambling and liquor regulators merged in 2012, and there was a lack of leadership, staff training and a reduction in donors under the previous administration, as the Auditor-General noted in 2017

Crown Resorts, Crown Melbourne, Royal Commission, Australia, Victoria State Government

News – AU – The Victorian Government Announces Royal Commission for Crown Casino

Source: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/victorian-government-announces-royal-commission-into-crown-casino-20210222-p574sc.html