Crown shares plunge af­ter China de­tains top ex­ec­u­tive

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

SHARES in bil­lion­aire James Packer’s Crown Re­sorts plunged yes­ter­day af­ter 18 sales and mar­ket­ing staff were de­tained in China, in­clud­ing an ex­ec­u­tive in charge of lur­ing high-rollers to Aus­tralia.

The com­pany’s stock fell 13.9per­cent to close in Syd­ney at A$11.15 (US$8.47).

It fol­lowed news that three Aus­tralians were among those hauled in for ques­tion­ing by Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties last week, with the com­pany un­able to con­tact them.

“In re­la­tion to me­dia re­ports on the week­end, Crown Re­sorts Lim­ited be­lieves that Crown’s ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent VIP In­ter­na­tional, Ja­son O’Con­nor, is one of 18 Crown em­ploy­ees that have been de­tained by Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties,” the com­pany said.

“To date, Crown has not been able to speak with its em­ploy­ees and is work­ing closely with the Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade to ur­gently make con­tact with and as­cer­tain the wel­fare of its em­ploy­ees.

“Crown is yet to be pro­vided with de­tails of why its em­ploy­ees have been de­tained.”

China’s for­eign min­istry said in a state­ment to AFP that Aus­tralian na­tion­als had been “crim­i­nally de­tained by Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties for sus­pected gam­bling of­fences”.

“The case is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” it added.

The Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion said it un­der­stood they were seized over so­lic­it­ing Chi­nese high­rollers to gam­ble in overseas casi­nos.

The Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Re­view re­ported they may have been tar­geted as part of “Op­er­a­tion Chain Break”, aimed at stop­ping the il­licit flow of funds into for­eign casi­nos.

Gam­ing com­pa­nies are not al­lowed to ex­plic­itly ad­ver­tise gam­bling in China.

Crown op­er­ates casi­nos across Aus­tralia and the world, in­clud­ing in Ma­cau, where rev­enues have been hit hard by a Chi­nese cor­rup­tion crack­down which has driven away many big-spenders.

Graft has be­come en­demic in China and Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping launched a much-pub­li­cised anti-cor­rup­tion drive af­ter he came to power in 2012.

The Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment said con­sular of­fi­cials were seek­ing more de­tails from Bei­jing.

“Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties have three days in which to no­tify of the de­ten­tion of Aus­tralians ac­cord­ing to the terms of a bi­lat­eral con­sular treaty,” a spokesper­son said. –

Photo: AFP

The Crown casino in Mel­bourne.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.