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Crown directors face casino inquiry

The grilling of Crown Resorts’ board of directors continues on Wednesday, with deputy chair John Horvath to reappear in the witness box of a NSW casino inquiry.

Professor Horvath, the former commonwealth chief medical officer, conceded on Tuesday that the failure of important information to reach the board revealed structural failures of the company and the aboard.

Under questioning, he said he no longer had confidence in Barry Felstead, who is chief executive of Crown’s Australian resorts business, in light of evidence he had heard.

“I have to say no,” Professor Horvath responded when asked if he still had confidence in Mr Felstead as a senior executive.

The inquiry has heard that Mr Felstead was aware that a Crown staffer had been questioned in China and provided with a letter from the company to “corroborate” what the employee had told Chinese officials. More than a dozen Crown workers were later arrested in China.

Mr Felstead failed to tell managing director Rowen Craigie about the events, but instead told Crown director Michael Johnston, the inquiry has heard. Mr Johnston is an appointee of major shareholder James Packer’s private company Crown Press Holdings.

Prof Horvath will face further questions about Crown’s system of preventing money laundering and its relationship with Chinese junket operators when he continues giving evidence.

The NSW gambling regulator’s inquiry into whether Crown is suitable to run a new casino at Sydney’s Barangaroo was sparked by media reports that its casinos had facilitated money laundering and organised crime.

Crown’s chair, former Australian senator Helen Coonan, will also appear before the inquiry this week.

The inquiry is expected to report back by early 2021.

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