Three Star executives resign amid probe

·2-min read

Three Star executives have resigned amid an ongoing inquiry into its Sydney casino.

Star Entertainment posted a statement on its website on Friday evening saying the board has accepted the resignations of Chief Financial Officer Harry Theodore, Chief Casino Officer Greg Hawkins, as well as Chief Legal and Risk Officer and Company Secretary Paula Martin.

"The three executives will work with the Executive Chairman to transition their executive responsibilities in an orderly manner," the ASX-listed company said.

Liquor and Gaming NSW is examining the fitness of Star to hold a Sydney casino licence, prompted by reports the company enabled suspected money laundering, organised crime, fraud and foreign interference.

The announcement of the high profile departures came after the market closed on Friday and follows the resignation of CEO Matt Bekier in March.

Star's shares finished down 2.6 per cent to $3.04, during a sour day for the market, and are down 17.4 per cent so far this year.

Mr Hawkins was quizzed in April over whether he knew of an alleged practice at the Sydney casino of switching local players to international rebate programs for tax breaks.

Mr Bekier took the stand on Monday, conceded there were "shortcomings" within The Star's international arm.

These included its China Union Pay debit card scheme between 2013 and 2020, assessment of junket operators, and problems in its exclusive gaming room Salon 95.

There has been evidence the Sydney venue used CUP cards to disguise the purchase of gaming chips as hotel accommodation in breach of rules.

About $900 million flowed into the casino until the CUP process was stopped in 2020, the inquiry was told.

The inquiry was also told high roller Phillip Dong Fang Lee used the CUP card to take out $30 million over some months, which raised potential money laundering flags.

On Tuesday, Bekier sought to shield the board from the regulator's ire, blaming management for the company's poor culture.

"It's management that sets the culture ... the board is only there 10 days a year," he said.

Earlier, the probe was told Star offered overseas players the option to deposit funds in Australia via a company called EEIS - a subsidiary of the gaming operator - "to disguise the fact they were making deposits to a casino".

Through EEIS accounts, around $227 million in credits and $227 million in debits were transferred in 752 transactions between May 2018 and November 2021.

While in Salon 95, used by notorious Macau-based junket operator Suncity, an illegal cage operated.

The "myriad of transgressions" in the room also involved cash being exchanged for gaming chips, storing cash in sports bags on a balcony, and access to the room being granted to non-junket participants, the inquiry was told.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting