A Crown Resorts board director says he did not know the company had staff on the ground in China before they were arrested and detained over alleged violations of local anti-gambling laws.
Advertising guru Harold Mitchell, a Crown director since 2011, on Friday faced an inquiry into the company’s suitability to operate a new casino at Sydney’s Barangaroo.
Mr Mitchell said he did not know why he had been kept in the dark, but did not believe anyone was hiding anything.
The company’s incentive structure for executives, which takes into account Crown’s financial performance, did not encourage people to conceal important information, he insisted.
Mr Mitchell took no steps to investigate two bank accounts alleged in media reporting last year to have been used for money laundering, assuming that management were investigating, he told the inquiry.
“It is the curiosity of the directors to look at these things that is necessary, isn’t it?”, commissioner Patricia Bergin asked.
Crown is being examined for its fitness to operate the new casino amid allegations it partnered with controversial “junket operators” which had links to organised crime.
Major shareholder James Packer gave evidence over three days earlier this week, describing involvement in the inquiry as “a terribly painful and shocking experience for the board, as it has been for me”.
“I won’t be going on the board again,” he said.
Fellow Crown board member and former AFL boss Andrew Demetriou is scheduled to give evidence on Friday afternoon.