Former Star Entertainment Group chief executive Matt Bekier said he was disappointed by the Sydney casino’s management but that failings were ultimately his responsibility.
Australia.- Former Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier has given testimony to the New South Wales regulator, the ILGA, in its inquiry into the casino operator. He told the inquiry he was disappointed by the Sydney casino’s management and blamed the failure of the international VIP business on the venue’s “subculture”.
According to local media reports, Bekier said: “The dark art of acquiring customers, to convince them to fly long range and gamble in our casinos … settle and collect the money. That’s very different from the rest of our business.”
Counsel assisting, Naomi Sharp SC, asked Bekier who had let him down, asking him to assess former colleagues who had testified to the inquiry. Bekier said that chief legal and risk officer Paula Martin was “extremely talented” but tried to solve problems herself rather than escalate them.
Of Oliver White, Star Entertainment’s in-house lawyer, he said: “I trusted him, and he would have had the currency to come to me and escalate any problem to me and I would have listened.”
Star’s chief legal and risk manager admits she could have done more
Star Entertainment’s chief legal and risk manager Paula Martin came under pressure from counsel assisting, Naomi Sharp SC, on her third day of testimony at the New South Wales inquiry into Star’s suitability to continue holding a casino licence in Sydney. She denied the company had been “out of control” when it came to money laundering risk, but admitted that she could have done more.
According to local media reports, Sharp accused of Martin of personally “acting in complete disregard of the obvious money laundering and counter-terrorism financing risks” of the casino operator’s decision to continue accepting China UnionPay as a payment method from 2013 to March 2020.
Martin said she disagreed but admitted she could have done more and agreed the company misled National Australia Bank about the use China UnionPay cards at Star Entertainment venues.
The public hearings into The Star Sydney will continue until August 31 after the New South Wales regulator, the ILGA, approved Adam Bell SC’s request for an extension.