Crown leader wanted to revive illegal credit card program

But Mr Packer’s attorney, Orin Bigos, QC, questioned his knowledge of the involvement of his company, Consolidated Press Holdings, which has a 37% stake in the $ 8.6 billion casino giant. dollars.

She admitted that she had no “personal knowledge” of CPH’s involvement. Rather, they were minutes of meetings on the resumption of the process.

New chief financial compliance officer Steven Blackburn told the inquest on Thursday that he expected an ongoing review of the illegal program to show signs of money laundering and that the final amount generated by the program exceeds the 160 million dollars already identified. because the review only considered China UnionPay cards.

Late Thursday, Mr Blackburn made the concession that he had approved a new code of “on the fly” responsible gaming which still allowed players to play for 18 hours although this was contrary to his “common sense” and academic literature, but was convinced by his team to the Crown to keep the long time.

Mr Blackburn – an anti-money laundering and financial crime specialist with no responsible gambling experience – was unexpectedly asked to take over the casino’s responsible gambling department after the Crown rushed to take over improve its lax policies in the wake of Commissioner Finkelstein who flagged it as a key issue in determining whether the casino operator would retain its Southbank license.

Commissioner Finkelstein has made it clear that how Crown deals with problem gambling will weigh heavily on its decision on whether the gaming giant is able to hold Victoria’s only casino license.

“Contrary to literature, contrary to your best opinions, why did you accept it? ” He asked.

“Coming in with a purely secular point of view on this, I can tell you that surprised me,” replied Mr. Blackburn. “I thought it didn’t make sense. I don’t know anyone who would spend 18 hours doing anything, continuously it just doesn’t make sense to me.

“I try to use common sense and also be informed by my team who is through this.”

“It makes no sense,” said Commissioner Finkelstein. “Unless you are in pain.”

Mr. Blackburn then pledged to “revisit” the expertise of his team, signaling that some could be forced to resign.

It comes as the investigation learned that Crown had only hired 12 departments responsible for gaming staff to monitor tens of thousands of customers and let problem gamblers play for 96 hours without leaving the casino.

The leaders will face off next week

The investigation was also told that the benefits of Crown’s loyalty program, which attracts players to Southbank, have led some problem gamblers to suicide, jail and bankruptcy.

Next week Crown’s executive chairman Helen Coonan is due to appear in order to convince openly skeptical commissioner Finkelstein of her attempts to overhaul corporate governance and the company’s cultural issues.

In particular, Ms Coonan will have to explain Crown’s lax responsible gambling policies and why she withheld information from the board of directors about possible tax evasion, which could reach $ 272 million.

A host of senior executives and directors will appear in the latest round of hearings next week, including Crown Melbourne CEO Xavier Walsh, Crown’s new CEO Steve McCann, CFO Alan McGregor and CEOs of Crown Toni Korsanos and Jane Halton.

Crown veteran for 10 years, Ms Coonan took the reins after NSW Bergin’s damning investigation found Crown unfit to open its Sydney casino because he had been infiltrated by organized crime, facilitated money laundering , did not take care of its staff in China and the “disastrous influence” of Mr. Packer.

As NSW’s gaming regulator says Crown is on track to open Sydney Casino by year-end, Commissioner Finkelstein questioned his efforts to overhaul on Thursday, openly questioning whether the company would “go back to its old ways” after the heat of the inquiry subsided.

“This is not a willful behavior where a bunch of people woke up in the morning and said, ‘Oh, we’ve done some really bad things, and we’re going to fix it,'” Commissioner Finkelstein said. .

“They are hunted down by governments and regulators and they are fighting for their lives. What choice do they have?

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