‘Fear of Packer’ pushed Star to go rogue, says director

A Star Entertainment Group director says fear of competition from James Packer’s new Sydney casino at Barangaroo was a key reason the company engaged in rogue behavior that left it open to money laundering. money and criminal infiltration.

Sally Pitkin also told the NSW government’s inquiry into Star on Friday that the ASX-listed group knew a “new board needed to lead the company through the reform process and into the future. “and that she had already offered to resign.

Star Entertainment Group chief executive Sally Pitkin (pictured giving evidence on Friday) said the threat of competition from Crown was a factor behind the casino group’s cultural collapse.

The investigation – launched in response to a series of reports from the Sydney Morning Herald, age and 60 minutes – has already led to the resignation of a number of senior executives, including chief executive Matt Bekier and chief financial officer Harry Theodore.

In the final days of public hearings, the inquiry examines the role of Star’s board of directors in its many breaches of probity and ethics. These included his partnerships with “junket” tourist groups linked to organized crime, his lax controls against money laundering and his misuse of Chinese bank cards to facilitate $900 million in prohibited gambling transactions, on which he then lied to his bank.

Pitkin choked up on Friday when Inquiry Chairman Adam Bell, SC asked “what was wrong” with Star. She then provided insightful insight into the company’s catastrophic cultural failure.

She gave three reasons why otherwise good people have developed an “indifference” to legal and ethical wrongdoing, starting with an “inability to understand the harm that comes from money laundering.”

Money laundering is a crucial part of organized criminal enterprise because it disguises the proceeds of drug and sex trafficking and other illicit activities as legitimate revenue, such as gambling winnings from a casino.

“Crown was the company that benefited from Packer’s influence and had those advantages, and Star was the underdog.”

Sally Pitkin, star director

“Everyone in the organization, from the board to the end, needs to hear about the evils of money laundering,” said Pitkin, who has served on Star’s board for nearly six years and half and also chairs Super Retail Group. “These stories will be very difficult, very uncomfortable – but they need to hear these stories.”

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