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  • Crown Resorts (CWN) has said it will stop making political donations just days after the Western Australian election and amid ongoing investigations
  • The gaming giant is currently facing two royal commissions into its Perth and Melbourne operations
  • The inquiries come of the back of a scathing report published by former NSW Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin in February
  • It found that Crown had facilitated money laundering through shell accounts connected to its Perth and Melbourne casinos and was “recklessly indifferent” to the activities of criminals
  • As a result, Crown was deemed no longer suitable to hold its Sydney license and five directors, including chief executive Ken Barton, have resigned
  • Crown Resorts is up 0.5 per cent to $10.06 per share

Crown Resorts (CWN) has said it will stop making political donations just days after the Western Australian election and amid ongoing investigations.

The entertainment and gaming giant revealed to the ASX this morning that it “and its associated entities will cease making monetary or in-kind political donations, effective immediately.”

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who has been a long-standing anti-gambling campaigner, said it was “way beyond time” Crown stopped making political donations but noted that the timing of the announcement was “curious”.

“The gambling giant has paid millions of dollars to the political parties during the last 20 years, mostly the Liberal and Labor parties,” Wilkie told the AAP.

Crown is currently facing two royal commissions into its Perth and Melbourne operations, which came off the back of a scathing report by former NSW Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin published in February.

The year-long investigation found that Crown had facilitated money laundering through shell accounts connected to its Perth and Melbourne casinos and was “recklessly indifferent” to the activities of criminals using those accounts to launder money.

It also discovered that Crown had partnered with junket operators linked to organised crime.

As a result, Crown was deemed no longer suitable to hold its Sydney license.

“The company is obviously in a whole lot of trouble and they want to be able to front the Victorian Crown royal commission with proof that they’re working to clean up their act,” Wilkie continued.

“Frankly no political party should accept donations from any gambling company, and the pressure is now on the parties to follow Crown’s lead and promise to end their reliance on the industry.”

The saga has so far resulted in the resignation of five directors, including Crown’s chief executive Ken Barton.

The latest casualty was John Poynton, who stood down earlier this month over “a perceived lack of independence” regarding his relationship with James Packer.

Crown’s Executive Chairman, Helen Coonan, said in mid-February that the company recognised the need for “root and branch” change, but added that she does not see herself staying in her current role “for an extended tenure.”

“Crown has committed to working constructively with [the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority Inquiry] to advance reforms necessary to allow it to give effect to the Restricted Gaming Licence in Sydney,” she said.

“Crown also continues to work cooperatively with the Victorian and WA regulators as it works to restore public and regulatory confidence in its operations.”

Crown Resorts is up 0.5 per cent to $10.06 per share at 4:22pm AEDT.

CWN by the numbers
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