Crown risk management ‘gobbledegook’: Commissioner Bergin
14 Oct 2020

Commissioner Patricia Bergin, SC, has scorched Crown Resorts’ risk management strategies as counterproductive “gobbledygook” for the average employee as part of the NSW inquiry into the casino giant.

Toni Korsanos said she was unaware of debate surrounding her status as an “independent” director when she joined Crown’s board in 2017.

The probe is examining the suitability of Crown and its close associates to hold a restricted gaming licence at its near-complete Barangaroo Casino on Sydney’s waterfront.

The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority set up the inquiry in response to media reports detailing Crown’s breaches of anti-money laundering laws and partnerships with organised crime-linked junkets.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Bergin criticised a jargon-heavy risk-management document referring to “quantitative metrics”, among other controls.

“There is very little prospect an employee’s concentration will go over the top of ‘quantitative metrics’,” she said. “All this jargon that I have heard about pyramids and metrics – it’s all very well to have these things, but it looks to me as if it is counterproductive.”

The statement came as counsel assisting Scott Aspinall questioned Crown director Toni Korsanos. She admitted the document’s language could be more straightforward and that it may have lost some staff in translation.

“One of the problems,” Commissioner Bergin began again, “in any of these sorts of publications is the very thing that you have identified, which you have called ‘lost in translation’.

“I, pejoratively, might call it gobbledygook.”

Directors’ re-election at risk

Commissioner Bergin will deliver her findings by February, and at stake for Crown is its permit for the VIP-only Barangaroo casino.

The probe could recommend the licence be revoked or more strenuously regulated; those who are deemed unsuitable to be “close associates” of the casino may face ejection from Crown.

Directors Guy Jalland, Jane Halton and John Horvath are up for re-election at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on October 22, and governance outfit Ownership Matters is recommending investors vote against all three.

Even the company’s billionaire shareholder James Packer may have to sell down his 37 per cent stake – worth about $2.2 billion – to secure the Barangaroo licence.

By Lucas Baird, The Australian Financial Review, 12 October 2020

Read more at The Australian Financial Review

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