NSW is investigating whether Crown's Sydney casino licence was breached

Australian High Court rules Melco must hand over documents to Crown probe

Crown is close to completing its $2.4 billion casino, hotel and luxury apartment tower at Sydney's Barangaroo, which is due to open its doors early next year.
2020-06-11
Australia
Reading time 1:24 min
In February Melco challenged its royal commission-like powers in the Supreme Court and refused to hand over nine documents requested as evidence because they were covered by legal professional privilege. The NSW Court of Appeal overturned that ruling in March, and the High Court on Wednesday backed that decision.

Melco Resorts has failed in a last-ditch attempt to avoid handing over secret company documents to a New South Wales (NSW) government inquiry into probity issues at Crown Resorts.

The Australian state's Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) began an inquiry in January investigating whether Crown's Sydney casino licence was breached when James Packer sold a 20% stake in Crown to Melco for $1.76 billion in May last year. But the inquiry was derailed in February when Melco successfully challenged its royal commission-like powers in the Supreme Court and refused to hand over nine documents requested as evidence because they were covered by legal professional privilege.

The NSW Court of Appeal overturned that ruling in March. Melco then took the case to the High Court, which on Wednesday backed the Court of Appeal's decision, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. 

Crown is close to completing its $2.4 billion casino, hotel and luxury apartment tower at Sydney's Barangaroo, which is due to open its doors early next year. The casino's licence explicitly forbids recently deceased Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, the father of Melco boss Lawrence Ho, and a list of associates and related corporate entities from any involvement in Crown's casino due to allegations of his links to organised crime.

The ILGA inquiry is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it is not yet clear how much it will still focus on Melco when it resumes. Melco sold the last of its shares in Crown in April at a loss of nearly $330 million. Stanley Ho died three weeks ago, aged 98.

The inquiry conducted by former Supreme Court Justice Patricia Bergin, SC, was also set up to examine revelations by this masthead that Crown went into business with high-roller tour companies called "junkets" with links to powerful Asian crime syndicates.

Leave your comment:
Subscribe to our newsletter
Enter your email to receive the latest news
EVENTS CALENDAR