Crown tears up Packer deals on eve of annual shareholder meeting

The inquiry raised the suggestion of insider trading relating to Crown sending confidential financial forecasts to Mr Packer and CPH executives under the agreements early last year, at a time when they were negotiating to sell a 19.9 per cent stake in Crown for $1.7 billion.

The CPH executives shared the confidential company profit forecasts with the buyer of the shares, Hong Kong group Melco Resorts, the inquiry heard.


Mr Packer’s personal shareholder protocol – which was only made public through the inquiry – also allowed him to wield considerable influence over the running of Crown from outside the company, the inquiry has heard, by sending regular emails giving instructions to senior executives.

While the “services agreement” also created potential conflicts for two CPH executives who are also Crown directors, Michael Johnston and Guy Jalland. Mr Johnston, for instance, provided paid consultation to Crown to carry out work including conducting probity checks on the casino’s controversial “junket” partners, many which have been shown to be linked to organised crime, and then reviewing that work in his role as a board member.

Crown paid $3.5 million to CPH under the services agreement in 2018/19 and $1.2 million last financial year, according to its annual reports.

Crown will hold its annual general meeting on Thursday, where it is expected to face tough questions about the range of probity and governance issues raised through the ILGA inquiry.

Earlier on Wednesday, the inquiry heard that it might recommend the corporate watchdog ASIC investigate Crown’s former chairman Robert Rankin for a breach of directors duties over his failure to protect Crown’s staff in China and not his decision not to tell his co-directors that Mr Packer had threatened a businessman over a soured takeover deal.

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Local News - Victoria

Tears of joy in the rush to reopen, but not everyone is happy

Frank Ciccone, owner of Hair By Ciccone in Macleod in Melbourne’s north-east, has more than 35 customers booked for Monday and is sifting through 300 phone messages.

He expects to be heavily booked until December 31, but is not fazed.

“It’s amazing. The pressure is off us,” he said.

However, Marnie Browne, owner of Fem Skin Therapy beauty salon in Lower Plenty, was “very upset” that beauticians must wait until November 2 to reopen.

She feels beauty salons are discriminated against despite strict social distancing and sanitising practices. From November 2 they can offer manicures, pedicures, body waxing, eyebrow waxing and tinting, but cannot do lip or chin waxing, facials or skin treatments, due to having to wear masks.

With the distance Melburnians can travel increasing from five kilometres to 25 kilometres, Harry and Letitia Tseng of Reservoir can now visit Harry’s father Frederick, 65, who lives in Box Hill, and his mother Monica, 66, who does not speak much English, in South Yarra.

Harry and Letitia Tseng and their children will soon see Harry's father Frederick in person, rather than via video calls.

Harry and Letitia Tseng and their children will soon see Harry’s father Frederick in person, rather than via video calls.Credit:Chris Hopkins

And the Tsengs’ two children, Lok, five, and Edith, two, can once again watch MasterChef with their “Mama” Monica, who cooks for them.

Letitia said Edith had started showing signs of being wary of other people, adding: “I’d hate for her to be that way with her grandparents.”

Tennis-mad Fitzroy North children Florian and Aurelie Kostov, aged 13 and 10, have spent months having to whack balls against a wall. They are thrilled that from Monday they can play on a court, with tennis courts, golf courses and skateboard parks reopening.

“I’m very excited,” said Florian, who is also happy he can now see friends who live more than five kilometres away.

Aurelie Kostov and brother Florian will be hitting the courts at Princes Hill tennis club.

Aurelie Kostov and brother Florian will be hitting the courts at Princes Hill tennis club.Credit:Wayne Taylor

Kew plastering business owner Brad Harrison is disappointed the state government did not lift restrictions on the number of workers – six – allowed on small-scale construction sites.

And he said the restrictions still ruled out clients who want non-essential work indoors.

“I’ve still got people who’ve texted me saying, ‘Can you come and replace the ceiling from 10 weeks ago,’ and I’ve said, ‘Look, we can’t come into your home.’ “

Single mother Ashlee Kelly, owner of Listen To Your Body fitness studio in Brunswick, was pleased at the increase in the maximum class size from two clients to 10 from November 2.

But she says not being able to open indoors is “not sustainable” due to weather fluctuations, equipment being damaged and working in the dark being unsafe for female trainers.

“The other morning we turned up in the park and there’d been a stabbing overnight,” she said.

She said people were getting sick of outdoor classes, as with online sessions.

“We need to open indoors, not just for ourselves and business but for the mental health of our members.”

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Australian News

Caleb Ewan beaten in tight Tour de France finish by Sam Bennett, who breaks down in tears after stage win

Australia’s Caleb Ewan was as close as you can get to a second stage win at this year’s Tour de France but ultimately fell just short of Irish rider Sam Bennett on the stage 10 finish line.

The two riders engaged in a short sprint to the finish after Bennett was given a dream lead out, with Ewan right behind him throughout the entire sprint to the line.

The stage win gave Bennett the green jersey as he took it off Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, who finished the 168.5 kilometre stage from the Ile d’Oleron to the Ile de Re in third.

For Bennett it was a first career stage victory in the race and he was left unable to handle his emotions as he burst into tears while being interviewed about the win.

“You dream of it and you never think it will happen, then it did,” Bennett said.

Sam Bennett, wearing white lycra and a white surgical mask cries during an interview.
Sam Bennett’s first Tour de France stage win left him emotional.(Supplied: SBS)

Asked about the sprint to the finish line, Bennett said he thought he may have made a mistake as he continued to try and fight back the tears.

“I thought I was in too big a gear,” he said of the battle with Ewan and Sagan.


For Ewan a stage win would have been a fifth overall stage victory at the race, after he claimed three stages of the 2019 race to go with stage three this year.

Bennett has now regained the lead in the sprinter’s classifications with 196 points, ahead of Sagan on 175, Frenchman Bryan Coquard is in third on 129 points, while Ewan is sixth on 105 points.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey with a gap of 21 seconds to last year’s winner Egan Bernal of Colombia.

Richie Porte, the only Australian other than Ewan in this year’s Tour remains in 11th in the general classification 1’53” behind Roglic.


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Australian News

Toby Price leads after Dakar Rally first stage despite penalty after roadbook tears in half


January 06, 2020 12:03:12

Australian motorcyclist Toby Price has overcome issues with his navigational roadbook to make a strong start to his Dakar Rally title defence by winning the first stage of the 2020 race in Saudi Arabia.

Key points:

  • Toby Price’s road book tore in half during the 752km trek from Jeddah to Al Wajh
  • It meant the Australian copped a two-minute penalty, though not enough for him to trail USA’s Ricky Brabec
  • Price is the defending champion after following up his 2016 Dakar Rally title with the 2019 gong

Price’s lead over American Ricky Brabec is just five seconds with the Aussie handed a two-minute penalty after his roadbook tore in half during the 752-kilometre race from Jeddah to Al Wajh.

The reigning champion finished the first stage in 3 hours 21 minutes 33 seconds with his penalty taken into account, ahead of Brabec (3:21:38) and Austria’s Matthias Walkner in third (3:22:13).

Price won the Dakar Rally in 2016 and 2019 having made his debut in the race in 2015.

“My roadbook walked out on me after 15-odd kilometres, so it was strange,” the 32-year-old Price said.

“I was quite lucky in one way because I managed to follow on some dust and just keep up with the guys.

“Once the roadbook is gone, then you’re pretty much driving blind.”

Aussie riders Rodney Faggotter (25th), Ben Young (92nd), Trevor Wilson (127th) and Matthew Tisdall (129th) are also competing in the rally.

Lithuania’s Vaidotas Zala won the first stage of the car category ahead of France’s Stephane Peterhansel, with double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso finishing 11th in his debut Dakar Rally stage.

This year’s Dakar is being held for the first time in the Middle East, with the event moving from South America a decade after it had left sub-Saharan Africa for security reasons.

Stage 2 takes place on Monday from Al Wajh to Neom.








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