Senior Star Entertainment managers who have resigned were responsible for the company's poor handling of a report warning it could be violating the law, a lawyer arguing on behalf of the company has told an inquiry.
The NSW Liquor & Gaming Authority is conducting an inquiry into whether the embattled company should be able to keep its Sydney casino licence.
After months of hearings examining claims the casino enabled suspected money laundering, organised crime, fraud and foreign interference, Kate Richardson SC is closing the casino's case.
She has told the inquiry the company was probably not fit to hold a casino licence in the past, but is now after the departure of some senior staff and reforms to its processes.
Since the inquiry began there has been a clean-out of Star top brass including chief executive Matt Bekier, and chief legal and risk officer Paula Martin among others.
Ms Richardson told the inquiry on Wednesday Star had improved its compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML-CTF) laws since Mr Bekier rubbished a report warning the casino risked non-compliance in 2018.
The authors of the report from consulting firm KPMG told the inquiry Mr Bekier was rude and hostile towards them after receiving the report.
Ms Richardson told the inquiry the former CEO's reaction was unfortunate and should not stain the whole company.
Prior positive reports about the company's compliance could have spurred Mr Bekier's reaction.
"It does explain the initial shock and the immediate desire to understand why KPMG had reached such a different set of conclusions and recommendations," Ms Richardson said.
The KPMG report was not shared with the gaming authority.
It was considered the remit of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, which later pushed to see a full version of the report.
Ms Martin had advised the use of legal professional privilege, which she accepted at the inquiry was an erroneous claim.
"She should have at least obtained independent legal advice as to whether the claim was correct," Ms Richardson said
While there was no obligation or request to disclose the report to the gaming authority, it should have been shared in the interest of transparency, Ms Richardson said.
She planned to submit that the review not make findings on Star's claims of professional legal privilege on documentation.
Ms Richardson also defended the use of a loan-giving Hong Kong-based subsidiary that the inquiry was previously told had been used to disguise casino transactions of overseas patrons.
She said the use of the subsidiary was not motivated by a desire to disguise transactions, "but rather by the need to have a licensed or active business operation in Macau in order to operate bank accounts".
Star's Macau bank accounts had been closed at the end of 2017 amid a Chinese government crackdown on money leaving the mainland for gambling.
Ms Richardson said Star was trying to ensure it complied with the law by using the subsidiary.
The board had been briefed and while the inquiry could find there was a greater risk the company would fall foul of AML-CTF laws via the method it used, Ms Richardson submitted it should not find the board acted passively in response to the risk.
She said Star had sought independent advice to ensure the subsidiary abided by AML-CTF laws in Australia, Macau and Hong Kong, even though it did not necessarily have to.
"This indicated a genuine concern to comply with the laws of all jurisdictions in which those arrangements might operate," she said.
Ms Richardson is scheduled to conclude closing submissions on Thursday.