ASX's Funke Kup­per quits amid probe of his old bet­ting firm

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

LON­DON: ASX Ltd. Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Elmer Funke Kup­per re­signed af­ter 4 1/2 years in charge as po­lice in­ves­ti­gate ac­tiv­i­ties in Cam­bo­dia of the Aus­tralian bet­ting com­pany he for­merly led. Funke Kup­per wanted to "di­rect his full fo­cus to the in­ves­ti­ga­tions which may be made," ASX Chair­man Rick Hol­l­i­day-Smith said in a state­ment Mon­day. Hol­l­i­day-Smith will act as ex­ec­u­tive chair­man while ASX looks for Funke Kup­per's re­place­ment. Funke Kup­per led Tab­corp Hold­ings Ltd. be­tween 2007 and 2011 be­fore join­ing ASX. Fairfax Me­dia re­ported March 15 that Tab­corp made a pay­ment of A$200,000 ($152,000) as it sought an on­line gam­ing li­cense in Cam­bo­dia in early 2010. The pay­ment was made when Funke Kup­per was CEO and ex­am­in­ing how Tab­corp could ex­pand into Asian sports bet­ting, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

In a sep­a­rate state­ment Mon­day, Tab­corp granted Funke Kup­per's re­quest for leave as a di­rec­tor un­til the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion is fin­ished. Tab­corp said last week that po­lice had started a probe into the com­pany's ex­plo­ration of a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity in Cam­bo­dia in 2009. Tab­corp said it didn't pur­sue the op­por­tu­nity and the busi­ness never went ahead.

"Cor­po­rate gov­er­nance is a big thing and peo­ple need to have faith and trust in the mar­ket," said Nathan Zaia, an an­a­lyst at Morn­ingstar Inc. "It makes sense for the ASX to let him go if that's what he needed to do."

Funke Kup­per's de­par­ture at ASX comes as con­sol­i­da­tion among global ex­changes ac­cel­er­ates. Last week, Deutsche Bo­erse AG agreed to ac­quire Lon­don Stock Ex­change Group Plc, a deal that may kick off a bid­ding war. The union would cre­ate the world's big­gest ex­change op­er­a­tor by rev­enue and se­cond-largest by mar­ket value, sand­wiched be­tween CME Group Inc. and In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Ex­change Inc. ASX shares climbed 16 per­cent last year as Funke Kup­per helped lead its big­gest tech­nol­ogy upgrade in more than a decade. That com­pares with a 2.1 per­cent de­cline on Aus­tralia's bench­mark S&P/ASX 200 In­dex.

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