Australia’s Crown Resorts has announced the termination of two controversial agreements with Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH) – the private investment vehicle of its largest shareholder James Packer – including a Controlling Shareholder Protocol that had seen Packer privy to financial updates.
According to a Wednesday filing with the Australian Securities Exchange, both the Controlling Shareholder Protocol and a 2016 Services Agreement that allowed Crown to request the services of key CPH executives at pre-agreed hourly rates are no longer valid.
The decision to terminate comes after the agreements were revealed during a NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority inquiry into Crown’s suitability to hold a casino license for its soon to open AU$2.2 billion Crown Sydney development.
The inquiry learned that, under a Controlling Shareholder Protocol dated 31 October 2018, Crown had been providing Packer, but not other shareholders, with daily updates on the company’s financial performance including financial forecasts and detailed information on revenue from the company’s VIP business.
The Services Agreement, dated 1 July 2016, had seen senior CPH figures such as finance director Michael Johnston appointed to executive roles at Crown.
Commissioner Patricia Bergin commented during the inquiry, “There’s a difference between having a services agreement to provide services from another organization and that service being provided by one of your colleagues on the board.”
Crown Resorts will hold its Annual General Meeting today (Thursday) at which there are expected to be changes to its board, including the retirement of former Executive Chairman and long-time Packer ally John Alexander.