SYDNEY, AAP – Star Entertainment faces a class action by shareholders on top of a public inquiry into whether it should keep its Sydney casino licence.
Law firm Slater and Gordon has filed a class action against Star, seeking compensation for shareholders on claims of “misleading or deceptive representations” about its compliance with regulatory obligations.
The law firm argues investors have a strong case given a NSW gaming regulator inquiry has been told the casino operator misled its banks and the regulator, ignored risks of money laundering, and failed to operate ethically.
The inquiry continues on Wednesday with ongoing evidence from a senior Star Entertainment manager in charge of providing financial and commercial advice to the gaming giant’s international arm.
The NSW gaming regulator is probing whether the Sydney casino, and its owner Star, has been infiltrated by criminal activity, and if the venue’s casino licence should be withdrawn following damning media reports.
The inquiry was sparked after media reports alleged Star enabled suspected money laundering, fraud and foreign interference, and organised crime, at gaming venues including its Sydney casino.
Star general manager of finance and commercial, Michael Whytcross, will continue testifying on Wednesday after previously telling the inquiry about efforts to get overseas cash to the casino following the closure of Macau-based bank accounts in 2017.
Other witnesses due to be called this week include general counsels Oliver White and Andrew Power, and chief legal and risk officer Paula Martin.
Mark Walker, senior vice president of premium services operations at Star Entertainment is also due to testify.
The inquiry has so far been told how China Union Pay – a Chinese financial services company – banned gambling transactions on its debit cards, but that Star was able to disguise wagering as hotel accommodation charges.
It has also been told of a controversial private gaming room Salon 95, part of the casino’s so-called “international rebate business”, known as junkets.
The inquiry’s damning evidence about practices at the casino prompted the resignation this week of Star Entertainment chief executive Matt Bekier.
The inquiry is set to conclude public hearings on Friday.