Richard Sheppard, director at The Star Entertainment Group, has severely criticised the senior management of the gambling company for not escalating some information to the board. Becoming the director of the Australian gambling giant to be questioned as part of the ongoing inquiry into the company, he shared he was surprised that no one demonstrated disagreement over the miscommunication with National Australia Bank.
As Casino Guardian reported earlier, on May 9th, Mr Sheppard became the first board director to give evidence in the ongoing review of The Star Entertainment’s suitability to keep its Sydney casino operating licence, said he found it extremely disappointing that no one addressed the company’s board to alert it of alleged shortfalls in risk management that have been eventually reported. He strongly criticised the “seriously misleading” representations made by the Australian gambling giant’s senior management related to the use of China Union Pay (CUP) credit cards for gambling transactions at the casinos run by The Star Entertainment.
The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) review has unveiled a litany of significant failures in the oversight of the Chinese VIP junkets of The Star Entertainment, which exposed the gambling operator’s business at risk of money-laundering activities.
Eventually, the fact that the company’s senior management preferred to cover up the true purpose of the significant CUP transactions masked as hotel accommodation service payments was slammed.
Richard Sheppard Criticises Senior Management Team for Failure to Escalate Certain Matters to the Gambling Operator’s Board
As previously reported by Casino Guardian, the management team of The Star Entertainment has been blamed for covering-up multiple misleading communications with National Australia Bank over the years, acting on behalf of China Union Pay, as it sought some assurances that the aforementioned credit cards were not used for making gambling-related transactions because this is currently illegal under the laws and government regulations in China.
Only a few days ago, on May 6th, three leading executives of The Star Entertainment – the chief financial officer Harry Theodore, the chief legal and risk officer Paula Martin and the chief New South Wales casino officer Greg Hawking – stepped down from their jobs at the company after giving evidence to the ongoing investigation. As part of the inquiry, the former chief executive officer of the Australian gambling giant, Matt Bekier, named them as the individuals who had failed to escalate the risks linked with the Chinese junket operations to the company’s board.
However, Mr Sheppard disproved the suggestion of Naomi Sharp SC, the review’s assisting counsel, that the gambling company’s management was “rotten to the core”, saying this would be an overstatement. In his opinion, “seriously misleading” would be the correct term to describe the communication with the National Australia Bank.
Still, Sheppard agreed that was not an isolated case of failures of the company’s senior management team to escalate some sensitive information to The Star Entertainment’s board. According to him, there had been “a cultural issue” that affected a major part of the senior management team of the company because of which they either tried to address the issues by themselves or to avoid escalating the issues to the board.