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Aussie casino operator Crown confirms launching internal probe into CEO

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Aussie casino operator Crown confirms launching internal probe into CEO
Reuters
Rishav Chatterjee
December 12, 2023

By Rishav Chatterjee

(Reuters) - Blackstone-owned Australian casino operator Crown Resorts on Wednesday confirmed it had started an internal probe into CEO Ciaran Carruthers, who allegedly overruled the casino's security officers over banning intoxicated customers.

The Australian Financial Review on Tuesday reported that the casino operator was inquiring into the actions of its chief as he had allegedly intervened to allow patrons back into the casinos after security removed them.

"In accordance with Crown's governance protocols, we have engaged external counsel to conduct an independent review of these matters," a spokesperson for the gambling firm said, adding the company would not comment further until the review was complete.

CEO Carruthers was hired after Blackstone bought out the firm which was once owned by the billionaire Packer family. Blackstone did not immediately respond to a Reuters' request for comment.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, which did not immediately respond to a Reuters' request for comments, had in May set out strict conditions for Crown's Melbourne casino to operate after granting it a special license.

The company has faced years of regulatory challenges, including a royal commission in Victoria around money-laundering charges.

Crown has stopped doing business with foreign travel agents, or "junkets", who brought in Chinese gamblers, and since 2021 replaced most of its leadership in a bid to show the authorities it has rebuilt its governance systems. Blackstone took Crown private for A$8.9 billion in 2022.

Earlier in the year, an Australian court signed off on an A$450 million($294.53 million) fine for the casino operator for breaking anti-money laundering laws.

($1 = 1.5279 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Rishav Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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