Melco Group Agreed to Cooperate with Australian Investigation

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  • On Thursday the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming authority announced launching an investigation in Melco’s acquisition of 135.35 million Crown Resorts Ltd. shares
  • Melco Resorts and Entertainment expressed their willingness to assist with the Australian authorities probe for ties with one Stanley Ho
  • Crown Resorts’ Barangaroo casino license in Australia prevents the brand from engaging in business activities with Stanley Hung Sung Ho or his associates and businesses

Crown Resorts Limited is the operator of multiple gaming resorts in Australia, currently in development of their Barangaroo casino in Sydney, New South Wales. In order for the project to be properly licensed via the adequate authorities, the brand had entered into an agreement not to step into “any new business activities or transactions of a material nature between Stanley Hung Sun Ho or a Stanley Ho associate and Crown, any of Crown’s officers, directors or employees or any Crown subsidiary”.

Lost in Translation

On Thursday, the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority was presented with the list of banned persons and businesses, considered associates of Mr. Stanley Ho. The list of entities, however, did not include Mr. Lawrence Ho, chief executive of Melco Resorts and Entertainment and son of Stanley Hung Sung Ho. Nor did it include companies related to the Melco group, which was a business partner to Crown resorts for some 10 years, and earlier in May, acquired a 19.99% of Crown Resorts through a subsidiary. The value of the transaction was estimated at AU$1.76 billion.

At the time, Lawrence Ho reasoned that “Crown’s Resorts in Perth and Melbourne are world class entertainment destinations and I believe that Crown Sydney, much like Melco’s Morpheus property, will create an architectural icon for the city, the country and the world.”

According to information provided by The Guardian, though, Lawrence Ho was the director of one Lanceford Company Ltd. until June 28th, 2019, which is present in the list of entities banned from business transactions with Crown Resorts.

Crown Resorts’ Barangaroo Project in Sydney

Previously a secret, the condition banning Crown Resorts from engaging in business relations with persons of businesses related to Stanley Ho, stems from way back in 2014. At the time, Ho was banned from having anything to do with Crown’s Barangaroo casino license due to alleged ties with organized crime groups.

Stanley Ho, now in retirement, is the founder of SJM Holdings Limited, which is one of six casino concessionaires in Macau.

A statement issued by a Melco group spokesperson on Friday points out that Melco International and Melco Resorts are managed by a board of directors and a management team, which have no connections to Stanley Ho’s businesses. The spokesperson added that Mr. Ho is in no way involved in the Melco group, ran by his son, nor does he exercise any influence on any of the operating policies, financial matters or other processes and directions of the brand.

Crown Resorts representatives stated that they will cooperate fully in the investigation, as did the Melco Group.

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