Crown Resorts investigation finds CEO did not break law

Crown Resorts has told staff its chief executive Ciaran Carruthers did not break any laws after investigating an allegation he allowed patrons back into Melbourne’s Crown casino after they had been removed by security.

A note to staff from Crown chairman Bill McBeath seen by this masthead said Carruthers was cleared by an independent investigation that found he did not breach any regulations or laws. The allegation was first publicised by The Australian Financial Review in December.

Ciaran Carruthers
Ciaran CarruthersCredit: Tash Sorensen

“The investigation found no regulations or laws were breached by the Crown Resorts CEO with respect to these allegations,” McBeath said in the letter.

“Nonetheless, in light of the concerns raised, the Crown Resorts directors will initiate a group-wide review of our security policies and procedures, to ensure clearer lines of authority and accountability over operational decision-making in our properties. Further, the board will continue to uphold its obligation to ensure our most senior executives are modelling the Crown values and behaviours at all times”.

In a separate statement, McBeath said: “Mr Carruthers is an experienced and well-respected executive and has the full and absolute support of the Crown board of directors as he continues to lead the organisation through its transformation.”

One of the complaints accused Carruthers of overriding a decision to issue a patron a one-year ban after they allegedly brought a minor into the casino. Carruthers only joined Crown in 2022 after decades at some of the biggest casinos in the world including Wynn Macau.

The Blackstone-owned business hired two law firms to look into the report. The Victorian regulator, the Victorian Gaming and Casino Commission, also cleared Carruthers of any wrongdoing late on Thursday.

“The commission is satisfied that Crown’s handling of the whistleblower complaints and the recommendations resulting from Crown’s own investigation into the complaints were appropriate,” the regulator said.

The commission is due to outline whether Crown Melbourne has regained suitability to hold its Victorian casino licence in April. The Victorian precinct currently operates under a special manager who was installed by the regulator with the power to oversee its operations. The special manager’s final report on the business was given to the regulator last month.

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Blackstone purchased Crown Sydney and the broader Crown Resorts business for $8.9 billion in June 2022 after the casino group was disgraced by extensive breaches of anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing laws. The breaches culminated in the loss of its casino licences in the three states in which it operates and a complete overhaul of the business.

The regulator said on Thursday its findings regarding McBeath should not be inferred to mean it has determined whether Crown is suitable to regain its licence.

“The outcomes of the commission’s investigation into this matter should not be taken to indicate any pre-judgment about its pending decision on whether Crown Melbourne Limited is suitable to continue to hold the casino licence,” the regulator said late on Thursday.

McBeath also thanked staff for cooperating with the review amid “significant public attention”.

“Creating a culture of raising concerns and speaking up is of great importance to the Board and me, and we are committed to ensuring our team members continue to have the confidence to use the appropriate channels to do this, and that they will be protected in doing so,” he said.

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Source: Thanks smh.com