- Star Entertainment under investigation in New South Wales
- Investigation shows Star CEO dismissed KPMG Report in 2018
- Report highlighted multiple failures including money laundering
The New South Wales (NSW) Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) inquiry revealed that Star Entertainment CEO Matt Bekier denounced a report by the global audit firm KPMG. The document, presented at Star’s audit committee meeting held in May 2018, investigated the company’s failure to comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.
Paul McWilliams, Star’s former chief risk officer said that Bekier arrived late at the meeting and threw the KPMG report on the table and alleged that its findings were inaccurate. McWilliams had commissioned the KPMG report and also led the ILGA inquiry held on March 22, 2022.
Bekier put up an unprofessional front, insisting that the consultants at KPMG did not know their job and that the report was rife with several fallacies. Star’s former internal audit head Tarnya O’Neil said that Bekier did not give a detailed explanation for his claims. McWilliams opined that Bekier’s reaction compelled him to reconsider the report authored by KPMG partners Alexander Graham and John O’Sullivan.
The pair was surprised at the Star CEO’s response and his lack of appreciation for the report findings. The duo were not invited in for the meeting and were kept waiting in the lobby. Eventually, Bekier interacted with them, but continued to berate the two.
O’Sullivan said that Bekier opposed the report’s language and cited his disagreement with several points. Upon the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that a list of Star’s grievances with the report would be submitted to Graham.
Both McWilliams and O’Neil confirmed that the KPMG report had highlighted Star’s failure to abide by the due diligence procedures. Graham said that Star did not have a coherent AML/CTF program when the meeting was held. However, by July 2018, KPMG conveyed that the Star was willing to accept the report findings and address the issues.
KPMG Report Spurs ILGA Inquiry into Star
Media reports citing the KPMG findings spurred the ongoing ILGA inquiry. The reports hinted at Star’s failure to conduct a risk assessment of the punters visiting Australian casinos, its alleged abetment of organized crime and fraud, and its breach of the AML/CTF laws.