Star Entertainment CEO resigns amid money laundering scandal
Matt Bekier, the MD and CEO of Australia's embattled integrated resort operator Star Entertainment Group, has stepped down amid the ongoing probe into money laundering allegations at its Sydney casino.
The scandal started with an investigation last June by AUSTRAC, the financial crimes investigation agency, which found problems with the casino's anti-money-laundering measures, and quickly snowballed to include its Gold Coast and Brisbane casinos as well. Then, earlier this month, former Star group treasurer Sarah Scopel admitted that she, together with CFO Harry Theodore and general counsel Oliver White, had misled National Australia Bank about over $900 million in "suspicious" transactions. Those transactions had involved the large-scale use of debit cards for gambling, suspected to be made for the purpose of evading anti-money-laundering regulations and capital export controls. However, the three executives disguised them as hotel expenses.
Now Bekier, who has been with Star Entertainment for over a decade - well before the first allegations emerged in 2018 - and also served as the company's Chief Financial Officer at one point, is vacating the seat, saying that "the right thing to do was for him to take responsibility" since he is "accountable for the effectiveness and adequacy of the company’s processes, policies, people and culture."
No successor has yet been named - although given that CFO Theodore is already implicated in the scandal, it is unlikely to be him. According to the company's statement this morning, Bekier is stepping down from the board of directors immediately and will stay on until the role has been transitioned.