Australia: Star Entertainment Group manager tells inquiry he was not aware of casino obligation to act within the “spirit of the law”

A Star Entertainment Group manager has told an inquiry he was not aware of a casino obligation to act within the “spirit of the law”, as the gambling giant faces down a shareholder class action over alleged regulatory failures.

Star’s general manager, finance and commercial, Michael Whytcross was on Tuesday quizzed at a royal commission-style inquiry examining the fitness of The Star Sydney to hold a casino license.

Mr Whytcross’ testimony came as law firm Slater and Gordon on Tuesday filed a shareholder class action against Star, seeking compensation for “misleading or deceptive representations” about its compliance with regulatory obligations.

The law firm argues investors have a strong case given the NSW gaming regulator inquiry has been told the casino operator misled its banks and the regulator, ignored risks of money laundering, and failed to operate ethically.

The inquiry was told that Mr Whytcross looked for “workarounds” after Bank of China accounts in Macau were shut down in 2017, resulting in difficulties for overseas players to deposit large amounts of cash with the casino group.

The Bank of China accounts were closed after they were deemed high risk due to money laundering concerns, and Star Entertainment subsequently became “desperate” to find an alternate way to accept cash in Macau, the inquiry was told.

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