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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9309009/Crown-admits-underpaying-hundreds-staff-James-Packers-casino-faces-money-laundering-claims.html

 

  • Revelations that Crown Resorts has underpaid hundreds of workers
  • Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating after casino giant dobbed itself in
  • Widespread underpayment exposed across farms, franchises – even Coles 
  • Fresh blow comes after Victoria launches Royal Commission into Crown 

James Packer’s casino empire has been dealt another blow with the revelation that Crown Resorts underpaid hundreds of workers.

Crown reported itself to the Fair Work Ombudsman after stories surfaced of widespread underpayment of hospitality workers including at the casino giant’s high-profile restaurants Dinner by Heston and Rockpool Bar & Grill.

But the underpayments that the Ombudsman is investigating at Crown are separate to those of its rock-star restaurants and involve workers employed directly.

Pictured: James Packer and Kylie Lim at St Tropez, France, in 2018. Mr Packer's casino empire has been dealt another blow

Pictured: James Packer and Kylie Lim (ABOVE + BELOW) at St Tropez, France, in 2018. Mr Packer’s casino empire has been dealt another blow
Kylie Lim Bio, Net Worth, James Packer, Boyfriend, Age, Height -  Wikiodin.com

Crown Casino in Melbourne has been rocked by an investigation into underpaid wages right after a Royal Commission was launched

Crown Casino in Melbourne has been rocked by an investigation into underpaid wages right after a Royal Commission was launched

The company underpaid hundreds of workers across its venues including its huge Melbourne casino and resort, which is Victoria’s largest single-site employer, The Age reported.

‘Crown self-initiated a comprehensive assessment of its workforce following media reporting of widespread underpayment issues, particularly in the hospitality industry,’ Crown told The Age.

‘Our expectation is that only a small proportion of our employees are potentially impacted, and that the majority of employees impacted are not covered by an enterprise agreement.’

The gambling giant did not say what the total amount of underpayments would be, but the newspaper estimated it would run into millions.

The workplace regulator was swamped by underpayment cases in recent years, but urged any employers who identify non-compliance to report and co-operate, and to workers to ask the Ombudsman directly for assistance.

The United Workers Union’s casinos director Dario Mujkic agreed that it was mostly workers not covered by union agreements who would be affected.

‘The risk of underpaying workers is best avoided when those workers have a union agreement and are educated about their rights and entitlements through their union,’ he said.

Crown Casino, Barangaroo, Sydney, pictured under construction in July 2020. The Victorian Royal Commission was launched following the Bergin report in NSW which found Crown facilitated money laundering and failed to act when it was drawn to their attention

Crown Casino, Barangaroo, Sydney, pictured under construction in July 2020. The Victorian Royal Commission was launched following the Bergin report in NSW which found Crown facilitated money laundering and failed to act when it was drawn to their attention

James Packer (left) talks to Eddie McGuire (right) at Nine in 2006. Mr Packer's casino empire is facing a Royal Commission as well as a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation

James Packer (left) talks to Eddie McGuire (right) at Nine in 2006. Mr Packer’s casino empire is facing a Royal Commission as well as a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation

Underpayment of wages has been uncovered at dozens of businesses, including on farms and at large franchises such as Coles, McDonald’s and 7-Eleven.

The Victorian Parliament has passed legislation making deliberate wage theft a crime, with the laws coming into effect within months.

A Federal Government bill that includes making wage theft a crime has passed the lower house but may face opposition in the Senate.

The unpaid wage investigation comes as a fresh blow to James Packer’s casino empire after the Victorian government announced it would launch a royal commission into Crown Resorts, to test the suitability of the gambling giant to hold its Melbourne casino licence.

‘This is about making sure that those who hold a casino licence in Victoria uphold the highest standards of probity and integrity – and that they’re accountable for their actions,’ Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement.

The government says the royal commission is the most appropriate way to access information regarding Crown’s suitability to hold the casino licence given it will have the power to compel witnesses and seek documentation.

The announcement of the royal commission follows the release of the Bergin report in NSW earlier this month, which found Crown facilitated money laundering through subsidiaries’ bank accounts and failed to act when it was drawn to their attention.

The Victorian government has called a Royal Commission into Crown Resorts' Melbourne casino operations

The Victorian government has called a Royal Commission into Crown Resorts’ Melbourne casino operations

The announcement of the royal commission follows the release of the Bergin report in NSW earlier this month. Pictured, Crown Resorts key shareholder James Packer with Andrew Demetriou, who resigned as Crown Resorts director following the release of the report

The announcement of the royal commission follows the release of the Bergin report in NSW earlier this month. Pictured, Crown Resorts key shareholder James Packer with Andrew Demetriou, who resigned as Crown Resorts director following the release of the report

Victorian Gaming Minister Melissa Horne said the state government had gone through the 800-page report line by line and decided a royal commission was needed.

‘The findings in there were so severe that the most appropriate action to protect Victorian interests was the establishment of a royal commission,’ she told reporters on Monday.

‘The Royal Commission will establish the facts and the Government and the VCGLR will take any necessary action at the conclusion of the investigation. We will not tolerate illegal behaviour in our gaming industry.’

Former Federal Court judge Raymond Finkelstein will take on the role of royal commissioner overseeing the inquiry. He is expected to report back as early as August and no later than the end of the year.

It is estimated to cost Victorian taxpayers $5 to $7 million. The government has also laid the ground work to establish an independent casino regulator.

In a statement, Crown’s executive chairman Helen Coonan said: ‘Crown welcomes the announcement from the Victorian Government as it provides an opportunity to detail the reforms and changes to our business to deliver the highest standards of governance and compliance, and an organisational culture that meets community expectations.

‘Victorians should be assured we recognise the responsibility placed on us by the community, governments and regulators and we will fully cooperate with the Royal Commission.’

Earlier this month, Commissioner Patricia Bergin, a former judge of the NSW Supreme Court, told the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority the money laundering alone rendered Crown unfit to hold the licence for its casino in Sydney’s Barangaroo.

Crown Melbourne (pictured) has been located on the banks of the city's Yarra River since the late 1990s

Crown Melbourne (pictured) has been located on the banks of the city’s Yarra River since the late 1990s

The Bergin report in NSW found Crown Resorts was not suitable to hold a casino licence at its Barangaroo development. Pictured, Crown Sydney

The Bergin report in NSW found Crown Resorts was not suitable to hold a casino licence at its Barangaroo development. Pictured, Crown Sydney 

It also put its staff in China in danger of being detained and dealt with junket operators it was told were involved in organised crime, Ms Bergin concluded.

Ms Bergin left it to IGLA to decide whether it should cancel, suspend or impose conditions on the licence.

But she suggested sweeping cultural change was needed, as well as specific measures like the removal of certain board directors, a thorough audit of Crown accounts for money laundering, and measures to stop the sharing of confidential information with Crown Resorts key shareholder James Packer.

Crown Resorts directors Andrew Demetriou, Harold Mitchell, Michael Johnston and Guy Jalland all stepped down following the release of the report. Crown Resorts CEO Ken Barton also resigned.

Last week Western Australian announced a probe into whether Crown should be allowed to continue operating its Perth casino.

WA’s Gaming and Wagering Commission formally recommended an inquiry into Crown Perth following the NSW report into the company’s operations.

The state solicitor will prepare terms of reference for the investigation, which will have the powers of a royal commission.