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Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) - Former Director, Harold Mitchell
Former Director, Harold Mitchell
Source: Julian Smith/AAP
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  • In another sting to the embattled gaming company, a royal commission has been launched into Crown Resorts’ (CWN) Victorian operations
  • It follows the release of a report earlier this month, which found that Crown was unsuitable to hold its casino license in New South Wales
  • The scathing report prompted Western Australia to launch an investigation into the company’s Perth operation roughly a week later
  • The inquiry comes as another director, Harold Mitchell, stands down, joining four others — including CEO Ken Barton — to have resigned since the report was published
  • Crown Resorts is down 0.49 per cent to $10.20 per share

In another sting to the embattled gaming company, a royal commission has been launched into Crown Resorts’ (CWN) Victorian operations.

It follows the release of a report by former NSW Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin earlier this month, which 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.

The year-long investigation 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 and an investigation has been ordered to assess its Perth operation, which will have all the powers of a royal commission.

Former federal court judge and senior barrister Raymond Finkelstein QC has been appointed commissioner of the investigation into Crown Melbourne and must report back by August 1 this year.

“This is about making sure that those who hold a casino licence in Victoria uphold the highest standards of probity and integrity — and that they’re accountable for their actions,” said Victorian Premier Danial Andrews.

Up until this week, Andrews had defended that actions of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), which was accused in Bergin’s report of failing to act on allegations raised by whistleblowers, the media and MPs dating back years.

Melissa Horne, Victoria’s Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation, said Bergin’s findings were “incredibly concerning.”

“Which is why we’re establishing a royal commission to get the answers we need about Crown Melbourne,” she added.

“The royal commission will establish the facts and the government and the VCGLR will take any necessary action at the conclusion of the investigation.”

Following the release of the initial report, Victoria’s State Opposition called for a judicial review into Crown and said the VCGLR had been a “lap dog” of the casino company.

But it will prove to be a challenge for Andrews, since Crown Melbourne is the state’s largest single-site employer, with more than 16,000 workers, and pays hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.

On top of that, the Victoria’s former Napthine administration included a clause when it extended Crown’s license, which requires the state to pay more than $200 million should any future government make alterations to that license.

The royal commission comes as another director, Harold Mitchell, stands down. He joins four other directors to have resigned since the release of Bergin’s report, including CEO Ken Barton.

Crown Resorts is down 0.49 per cent to $10.20 per share at 5:18pm AEDT.

CWN by the numbers
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