The Royal Commission that is investigating Crown Perth was told that local businessman John Poynton agreed to provide James Packer with sensitive information about Crown businesses as part of a consultancy agreement worth AU$50,000.
The consultancy contract was agreed on between Consolidated Press Holdings and Mulloway Ptw in May 2018, around the time when Mr Packer was replaced by Mr Poynton on his position in the Crown Resorts board. As revealed by Patricia Cahill, an assisting counsel to the Royal Commission, Poyton was supposed to provide confidential information regarding the companies in the Crown group to Consolidated Press Holdings upon demand under the terms of the consultancy agreement.
John Poyton was present as a witness on the first day of the hearings being held as part of the investigation into Crown Perth aimed at helping the Western Australia Royal Commission decide whether the casino is fit to keep its operating licence in the state.
Mr Poyton was appointed at the position of a non-executive director of the board of the company associated with Crown Perth – Burswood Limited – by Mr Packer in 2004. Eventually, he joined Crown Resorts’ Board of Directors and even chaired the board in early 2020 but decided to resign at a later stage due to pressure from the Board’s current chair Helen Coonen and the investigation started by the gambling regulatory body of New South Wales (NSW).
Packer Never Asked for Provision of Sensitive Information, Poynton Claims
When asked by Ms Cahill why he had agreed to the consultancy deal’s terms, Mr Poynton replied he had not been sure in hindsight. He further said that the agreement was entirely Mr Packer’s idea but the billionaire investor never demanded the provision of sensitive information from him.
During the Royal Commission hearing, it also became clear that apart from the AU$50,000 payment from Mr Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings, Poynton has also been receiving annual fees of between AU$120,000-AU$130,000 as a Crown Resorts’ board member. He further received an AU$80,000 paycheck for his services on the board of Burswood Ltd.
According to the evidence given at the time of the first hearing, the WA Royal Commission was told that the Burswoord’s board had four meetings a year, with the average length of the meeting being about 90 minutes. Still, some of them were shorter than 30 minutes.
As reported by Casino Guardian, Crown Resorts shared at the beginning of the week that Western Australia officials had extended the period for the Royal Commission to come up with the results of the investigation it is currently carrying out in the Australian gambling giant’s Perth casino. The deadline for the Royal Commission to produce its final report on the fitness of Crown Resorts to keep its Perth licence was recently extended from November 15th, 2021 to March 4th, 2022.