Star Entertainment Executives Jump Ship Amid Inquiry

NSW Gaming Regulator under Fire for Lack of Effectiveness in Its Work

The ongoing inquiry of Star Entertainment Group has led to several more leadership members resigning from their positions. Right now, the Australian gambling company risks losing its license in New South Wales because it breached the state’s regulations concerning money laundering.

Three More People Leave Star Entertainment

The investigations have led to the resignations of numerous high-ranking employees as Star Entertainment desperately tries to clear its name and reshape its business. The last three executives who have left the company are Greg Hawkings, Star’s chief casino officer, Harry Theodore, the company’s chief financial officer and Paula Martin who served as a company secretary and chief legal and risk officer.

Martin is under fire for letting fraud run rampant. She is under critique for not being diligent enough, similar to Skye Arnott. Hawkins agreed that Star Entertainment’s model was flawed and that it allowed for some unsavory practices to take place. Theodore, on the other hand, opted to come clean and admitted some of his wrongdoings.

These leaves follow the resignation of Matt Bekier, Star Entertainment’s former chief executive officer. He left the company on March 28 as a way to take responsibility for the shortcomings. The ex-rugby star John O’Neill later filled in the vacant seat, becoming Star Entertainment’s new CEO for the time being.

Star Entertainment Is in Big Trouble

The inquiry into Star Entertainment’s business started on March 17. The company was accused of breaching Australia’s regulations concerning money laundering. According to the allegations, the money was laundered through China Unionpay cards. Thankfully, the Chinese bank noticed the suspicious transactions, leading to the current inquiry.

As the investigation continued, more concerning findings resurged. It turned out that Star Entertainment has deep ties with the Chinese junket Suncity. The Australian company allowed Suncity to illegally run a VIP gambling room at one of its venues. The so-called Salon 95 remained hidden from regulators and allegedly welcomed dangerous people.

One of the Salon 95 visitors was Huang Xiangmo, a dangerous Chinese billionaire. He was chased down from Australia in 2019 as he was believed to work for the United Front Work Department – an intelligence organization that uses briberies to establish favorable terms with other countries’ officials. Figures show that Xiangmo deposited over $1.3 billion between 2010 and 2018. Some speculate a part of the money went into fraud and organized crime.

The latest reports continue to confirm Bekier’s VIP team has been out of control. According to a recent reveal, Simon Kim had stolen almost $10 million from the company back in 2020.

Author: Ian Douglas