CEO of Australian casino group Crown Resorts, Ken Barton, resigns over money laundering scandal
On 15 February, Crown Resorts announced that Ken Barton had stepped down as CEO. The move comes amidst numerous money laundering allegations after an inquiry signalled that Crown wasn't fit to hold a gaming licence in the state of New South Wales and other cities.
For many years, Crown Resorts has drawn scepticism over their paid-trip trips for VIP Chinese gamblers that were connected to organised crime groups.
Patricia Bergin, inquiry commissioner, reported that the company had been:
facilitating money laundering, exposing staff to the risk of detention in a foreign jurisdiction and pursuing commercial relationships with individuals" connected to criminal groups.
Ken Barton had served at Crown Resorts for over a decade, stepping up as CEO in 2020.
Bergin contended that the CEO displayed a "breath-taking lack of care" in response to these allegations, emphasising his inability to fulfil the duties expected from his role. She reported:
Mr Barton’s unwillingness in a regulatory setting to make obvious admissions unless pressed was most unimpressive,
In the statement issued by Crown Resorts, Barton shared:
I would like to thank the Crown Directors for the opportunity to work with them on implementing Crown's strategy. Over the past 10 years, Crown has established itself as a great Australian company with world-class assets and I am absolutely certain the business is now on the right path as it works to restore confidence in its operations. I am committed to assisting with the transition to new leadership.
Meanwhile, Helen Coonan will serve as executive chairman until the board appoint a new CEO. The company issued a statement on Monday to break the news, Coonan saying:
I would like to thank Ken for his dedication and commitment to Crown.
Ken joined Crown more than a decade ago and has played an invaluable role with the business, initially as CFO and in the past year as CEO. Ken has always put the interests of Crown first.
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