Australian casino billionaire James Packer admitted “many failings” in the management of Crown Resorts Ltd, which he founded, when he launched a powerful investigation into the second largest resort on Monday.
Packer gave up all corporate functions at the $ 7 billion company in 2018, but still owns 37% of the shares. After harmful investigations in other Crown resorts in Sydney and Melbourne, Packer testified before a Royal Commission about the handling of money laundering risks in his casino in the city of Perth on the west coast.
The Sydney investigation, which Packer made his last public appearance a year ago, eventually froze Crown’s gambling license there, while the Melbourne investigation this week resulted in the company operating under supervision for two years.
“Looking back, there are a lot of mistakes and things that should have been done differently,” said Packer on Friday and testified via video link.
The 54-year-old Packer said that prior to the investigation, Crown directors had no direct anti-money laundering expertise, but “I didn’t believe Crown Perth was involved in money laundering at the time”.
He admitted that it was a mistake not to have someone with anti-money laundering expertise on the Crown board of directors.
Investigations in Crown’s three casinos began after media reports accused the company of turning a blind eye to organized crime, including dealing with tour operators with links to criminal organizations and disregarding the safety of 19 employees charged in China in 2016 Violation of anti-gambling laws.
After the Sydney investigation found that Packer had undue influence on the company’s board of directors despite not holding an official role, he withdrew his staff from the board earlier this year. Amid the turmoil of inquiries and allegations, Crown also replaced its chairman, CEO, and most directors and managers last year.
Earlier on Friday, the company said it had settled a class action lawsuit accusing it of failing to disclose the risks of doing business in China.
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