Crown Resorts CEO vindicated following whistleblower complaint

Posted on: February 12, 2024, 05:02h. 

Last updated on: February 12, 2024, 05:02h.

Crown Resorts CEO Ciaran Carruthers has been cleared of wrongdoing, according to The Australian Financial Review. This follows an internal investigation into his conduct at the Crown Melbourne casino. Carruthers allowed two patrons back into the casino after they had been ejected by security. He did not violate any regulations or laws in doing so.

Ciaran Carruthers, Crown Resorts, Crown Melbourne, whistleblower
Crown Resorts CEO Ciaran Carruthers wasn’t breaking the rules when he reinstated a patron who had been banned for bringing a minor onto the gaming floor, according to an internal review. (Image: Crown Resorts)

On one occasion, Carruthers is alleged to have readmitted a customer who had been banned and another time, he intervened to allow a drunk patron to remain in the casino after security had asked him to leave. Carruthers worked as one of several veteran casino executives installed by US private equity giant Blackstone after it acquired James Packer-controlled Crown Resorts in 2022.

Licensing Woes

The takeover was accelerated by a regulatory investigation that resulted in the revocation of Crown’s New South Wales gambling license. According to the inquiry, the company had facilitated money laundering and pursued commercial relationships with junket operators with links to triads.

A subsequent investigation in Victoria found the company unsuitable to hold a gaming license for its flagship Crown Melbourne but gave it time to overhaul its operational shortcomings.

Carruthers’ appointment was part of a drive by the new owners to clean up the company’s reputation.

Crown wasn’t taking any chances this time and hired two law firms to conduct the internal investigation, which was prompted by a whistleblower’s complaint against the CEO in December.

‘Culture of Raising Concerns’

In a note to all staff seen by AFR, Crown chairman Bill McBeath said Thursday that while Carruthers had been cleared of wrongdoing, the board had started a wider review of the company’s policies and protocols. This would “ensure clearer lines of authority and accountability over operational decision-making in our properties,” he explained.

McBeath added that he wanted to create “a culture of raising concerns” and that “speaking up is of great importance.”

On Thursday, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) said it was satisfied with the results of the internal investigation.

The regulator is still assessing Crown’s suitability to operate the Melbourne casino and a decision is expected in April.

Before joining Crown Resorts, Carruthers was COO at Wynn Macau. Prior to that, he was the Senior VP and Director of the Venetian and Plaza Operations for Sands China.

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