The Star Entertainment faces class action from shareholders

The company is facing a public hearing to define if it is suitable to continue holding a casino licence in Sydney.
The company is facing a public hearing to define if it is suitable to continue holding a casino licence in Sydney.

Shareholders have lodged a class action against the company amid ILGA’s public hearings on the Star Sydney casino.

Australia.- Investors in the Star Entertainment Group have filed a class action lawsuit amid the heavy public scrutiny of the group’s Sydney casino operations. Investors are seeking compensation for alleged misleading or deceptive representations made by Star regarding its compliance with regulatory obligations.

The lawsuit alleges that Star led investors to believe the group was a model casino operator when in fact it failed to curb corruption, money laundering and bribery. Star’s stock price fell by more than 25 per cent after media reports of money laundering and other misconduct in 2021, wiping more than $1bn off the company’s market value.

Lead plaintiff David Lynch said: “As an investor, I expect that licensed operators that are publicly listed will operate following the law and that there are appropriate checks and balances to ensure they do so. I am dismayed by the apparent scale of Star’s misconduct that is now being revealed in the public hearings.”

Senior associate Ben Zocco told ABC: “When investors purchase shares in a listed company, they are entitled to assume that all of the material information relevant to its financial position had been disclosed to the market.”

The New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) is holding a public hearing as part of its review of The Star Casino’s Sydney licence. Yesterday, Matt Bekier stepped down as managing director and CEO of the company following issues raised in the review.

Toda, the inquiry was told that Star Casino used junkets’ bank accounts to accept payments from players with funds in China.

Star’s general manager of finance and commercial, Michael Whytcross, said the casino’s Macau account, which was used to accept payments from Chinese players, was closed in 2017 after a crackdown on funds leaving the mainland. However, a workaround was developed with the help of an intermediary named Kwan Koi who had a bank account in Macau. He said millions of dollars were transferred this way. 

Whytcross said: “Kwan Koi would have funds in Australia, if someone was wanting to repay their casino debts in Macau, then the Star sales team would refer them to Kwan Koi. Then Kwan Koi would accept cash payment and subsequently transfer funds or make funds available in Australia to repay that debt.”

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GAMBLING REGULATION The Star Entertainment Group