The NSW Legislative Council has today agreed to release to the public previously secret information in the agreement struck between Crown Resorts and the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority for Crown’s Barangaroo Casino in 2014.
The information released includes a list of 55 companies and five individuals who are identified in Schedule 2 of the VIP Gaming Agreement as Entities and Individuals Deemed Associates of Stanley Ho (Released information here).
The release of documents follows Independent MP Justin Field disputing a claim of privilege made by the Government at the request of Crown. This claim of privilege over some sections of the document was made when the Legislative Council ordered the release of the agreement in late 2014. A previous dispute of privilege by former MLC, the late Dr John Kaye, did not dispute privilege over Schedule 2.
The dispute of privilege by Justin Field was considered by an independent arbiter, The Hon. Keith Mason AC QC. Crown objected to the release of the information on the grounds that it contains commercially sensitive information. The arbiter found that a valid claim of privilege had not been established and the Legislative Council agreed to publish both the report of the arbiter and Crown’s objection as well as the schedule containing the names.
Independent MP Justin Field welcomed the release of the information, “This information should be open to public scrutiny and I welcome the decision of the Legislative Council today to shed more light on the NSW Government’s agreement with Crown.
“This information concerns conditions of Crown’s agreement, specifically undertakings by Crown in relation to gaming operations in foreign jurisdictions and agreements with junket operators.
“Under the agreement Crown is prevented from any new business activities or transactions of a material nature between Stanley Huang Sun Ho or an associate. The release of the list of named associates now enables additional public scrutiny of Crown’s operations.
“It also sheds light on conditions that may relate to the recent purchase by Stanley Ho’s son, Mr Laurence Ho’s Melco Resorts and Entertainment, of a 19.9% stake in Crown Resorts.
The list of companies and names listed as associated entities include three of Stanley Ho’s children and companies they control. Mr Laurence Ho and Melco Resorts and Entertainment are not listed in the schedule.
Justin Field said, “Given the recent revelations relating to Crown’s operations in Australia and overseas including the associations with junket operators linked with organised crime and in particular money laundering, more scrutiny is needed on the operations of Crown. The release of this information is important to help build public confidence that the public interest is being protected in current and future probity reviews conducted into Crown by the NSW Government or the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority,” Mr Field said.
All current agreements relating to Crown’s Barangaroo Casino can be found here.