Australia

A strong group of investors is calling on directors to “rethink” their role

Packer, who owns 36% of the company, hasn’t said anything about how he will vote, but last week’s evidence was to make Crown a good company to hold a casino license. I expected that the board of directors would need to be changed.

Crown’s corporate governance has been in the last few weeks following evidence from the New South Wales Independent Liquor Games Bureau’s probabilistic survey of the Casino Group’s secret transaction to pass sensitive financial information to its largest shareholder, James Packer. Has been accused of. The investigation also burned out independent directors, including Harold Mitchell and Andrew Demetriu. They both questioned their independence from Mr. Packer.

“Investors are seeking accountability for directors to monitor governance failures identified during a survey of casinos in New South Wales,” said Louise Davidson, ACSI CEO. I am. “This includes board-approved private briefings of shareholders, oversight of money laundering prevention processes, and” inappropriate “public response to concerns about Crown practices. “

Ms. Davidson said Crown’s entire board of directors must be held accountable. “Beyond the three directors seeking re-election, what we heard in the survey is not well reflected throughout the board. Many long-term directors consider their emergence. We need to consider our position, “she said.

The investigation of honesty is Era, Sydney Morning Herald And 60 minutes It revealed that Crown had begun trading with junket operators related to organized crime in Asia and could not stop money laundering at casinos in Melbourne and Perth.

Crown initially placed a newspaper ad claiming that the press was sensational and error-prone, but Packer and other Crown figures later admitted that the ad misleaded investors.

Davidson was particularly critical of the secret protocol signed by the board to pass information to James Packer’s private investment vehicle, Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH), which is not shared with other directors. did.

“We hope that the board-approved confidential process of providing CPH with daily financial reports has never been seen in an ASX200 company and will never be seen again.”

Ownership Matters, a well-known advisory group that advises industry funds and other institutional investors on governance, also recommends that Crown shareholders vote against re-election. Two other advisory bodies, ISS and CGI Glass Lewis, encourage shareholders to support directors.

ACSI members own approximately 7% of Crown’s stake. Australian fund manager Perpetual, which owns about 9%, declined to comment while the investigation was underway. Blackstone, an American private equity firm that owns nearly 10% and recently applied for regulatory approval to increase its stake, declined to comment.

Professor Horvath said in a Wednesday survey that there was a failure in how Crown handled junket partnerships, money laundering prevention regimes, and corporate governance.

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Professor Horvath has been an independent director for 10 years and is also chair of the Crown Melbourne Compliance Committee, which is responsible for ensuring legal obligations with Victorian gambling regulators.

“Looking back, some of the material from the survey suggests that we hadn’t attended,” Professor Holbus was asked about the failure the Compliance Committee missed. Sometimes said.

Professor Horvath also said he was unaware of the widely accepted fact that many junkets operating in Macau are associated with organized crime. “Why did you miss it?” Asked a lawyer supporting Naomi Sharp, South Carolina. “It wasn’t what I read,” replied Professor Holbus.

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Business reporter for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

Sarah Dunkelt is a business reporter.

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