Former Star Entertainment Boss to Face New South Wales Grilling This Week

Posted on: April 25, 2022, 08:42h. 

Last updated on: April 25, 2022, 04:49h.

New South Wales continues its investigation into Star Entertainment’s alleged mismanagement of regulations this week. Matt Bekier, the casino operator’s former CEO, is now going to be in the hot seat.

Matt Bekier
Matt Bekier, the former CEO of Star Entertainment. He will finally appear at the ongoing inquiry in New South Wales over the company’s alleged wrongdoing. (Image: 9News)

New South Wales (NSW) has already heard several Star Entertainment executives confirm how the casino operator routinely sidestepped its regulatory obligations. It allegedly looked the other way as duffle bags full of cash entered its properties unchecked.

In addition to ignoring anti-money-laundering policies, the company was willing to ignore international law and allowed Chinese VIPs to use bank cards inappropriately.

The admissions result was the resignation of the top man at the company, former CEO Matt Bekier. However, his willingness to step aside won’t keep him out of trouble.

Bekier is going to appear in NSW’s hearing this week, according to the Australian Financial Review, as will Harry Theodore, Star’s chief financial officer (CFO). Bekier will get to see what’s coming, as Theodore will go first.

More Questions than Answers

The NSW government already knows that Star repeatedly broke the rules for years. Executives had no trouble ignoring the financial and gaming regulatory protocols in place.

Star’s bosses looked the other way as a VIP made one trip after another to the casino floor, despite being investigated for money laundering. They also ordered the shredding of at least one document that, if uncovered, would provide evidence of some of its actions.

Those topics are likely to come up as Bekier takes the stand. He will also have to answer allegations that he conspired to cover up a report by accounting firm KPMG that highlighted several failings at the company. His appearance this week is the first time he will speak publicly about the scandal since he resigned at the end of March.

Star allegedly helped high rollers push hundreds of millions of dollars through its operations, most of which presumably came out of China. It was, for Star, a win-win proposition, despite its illegality of it. It gave VIPs what they wanted while earning big money and avoiding paying taxes.

Within the next two weeks, other company brass will occupy the same seat as Bekier and likely answer some of the same questions. Board Chairman John O’Neill will take the lead on May 9. But other board members will appear, as well.

Executive Ranks Begin to Thin

Bekier’s exit from the company was the first but not the last. More executives will soon leave in almost a mirror situation of what happened with Crown Resorts. Theodore will take the stand this week, and according to AFR, he could soon tender his resignation. He reportedly helped hide almost $1 billion in transactions so that Chinese high rollers could gamble.

Theodore allegedly worked with Sarah Scopel to scramble the paper trails. She was the company’s treasurer at the time but has since moved on.

However, Scopel still felt the sting of the investigation and resigned from her position at Woolworth’s shortly after taking the stand in the Star inquiry. She began working at the supermarket chain as its group treasurer last October.

NSW already requested an extension of the investigation and won’t have its final results ready until August. In the meantime, Star can begin preparing for additional fallout. Queensland is reportedly going after the company next, followed by AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial watchdog.