In Australia and local casino operator The Star Entertainment Group Limited has announced that three of its executives have resigned with immediate effect following the conclusion of its disastrous license suitability probe in the state of New South Wales.
The Brisbane-headquartered firm used an official press release (pdf) to declare that it had ‘received and accepted’ the resignation of its Chief Financial Officer, Harry Theodore, as well as analogous petitions from its Chief Casino Officer, Greg Hawkins, and Company Secretary and Chief Legal and Risk Officer, Paula Martin. The departure of the trio comes a little over a month after the operator’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Matt Bekier (pictured), announced his own exit after eight years following revelations that the company had hid a slew of gambling transactions from its banks.
The Star Entertainment Group Limited is responsible for The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane venues in Queensland and is hoping to premiere that state’s $2.3 billion Queens Wharf Brisbane development by the summer of next year. However, the quinquennial review into the New South Wales casino license held by its The Star Sydney property uncovered evidence that the firm had disguised casino-related transactions worth almost $667 million as hotel expenses in order to get around China’s strict controls on the movement of capital.
Read a statement from the Star Entertainment Group Limited…
“The three executives will work with the Executive Chairman to transition their executive responsibilities in an orderly manner. An executive search firm will commence the search for permanent appointments. We also refer to an announcement of April 1, 2022, where the board acknowledged the need for accelerated board change.”
In its report on the matter and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation explained that the probe into Sydney-listed The Star Entertainment Group Limited was conducted by prominent local attorney Adam Bell and also found that a prominent figure within the company’s international VIP team pilfered more than $9.44 million in cash before ‘disappearing’ in 2020. The broadcaster explained that this manager worked with Chinese high rollers and is thought to have transferred the stolen funds from a junket operator directly into his own account.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that The Star Entertainment Group Limited has furthermore recently been named as the defendant in a class-action lawsuit brought by a group of disgruntled investors. This action, which was filed with the Supreme Court of Victoria in late-March, is purportedly alleging that the firm misled its backers by claiming to be a model casino operator when in reality it was regularly failing to mitigate money laundering, bribery and corruption.