John Poynton is the newest director to withdraw from Crown Resorts, citing alleged independence problems arising from his former partnership with the company’s biggest shareholder, James Packer.
Poynton resigns as a director of Crown and as chairperson and director of Crown Perth with immediate effect, citing the “right thing to do” in an interview with Australian newspapers.
Following his resignation, Poynton released a statement saying: “The Bergin Inquiry made no findings against my integrity or performance on the Crown board or my status as a fit and proper person.”
This followed a scathing audit in New South Wales, commissioned by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority and headed by retired supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin, which deemed the firm incompetent to manage the $2.2 billion Crown Sydney Hotel Resort.
Crown, or its agents, associates, or branches, engaged in money laundering, violated gaming rules, and collaborated with junket operators with connections to cocaine dealers, money launderers, and human traffickers, according to the roughly 800-page appraisal of Crown’s suitability, which was sparked by accusations made by Australia’s Nine Network, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and other media outlets.
Crown Melbourne investigation
In addition, the Victorian government has formed a Royal Commission to examine Crown Melbourne‘s suitability to keep the Victorian casino licence, as well as its affiliates, namely Crown Resorts.
Following CEO and managing director Ken Barton, Harold Mitchell, Andrew Demetriou, Guy Jalland, and Michael Johnston, Poynton is the fifth director to resign following the ILGA results.
Helen Coonan, who took over as CEO after Barton resigned, had this to say about the new departure: “John has been a member of the board of Crown since November 2018 and a director of Crown Perth since 2004. During that time, he has been enormously committed as a director, chairman of Crown Perth and through his service on Board committees.
“The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority has advised Crown that it considers it appropriate that John step down as a director of all companies within the Crown group, due to a perceived lack of independence arising out of his past relationship with Mr James Packer and CPH, notwithstanding the recent termination of John’s consultancy arrangement with CPH.
“As a result, John has agreed to resign in the best interests of Crown and our shareholders, despite no adverse findings by the Commissioner in the ILGA Inquiry in relation to his suitability, integrity or performance. On behalf of the board, I thank John for his contribution to Crown over many years.”