Peter Ward, the lawyer representing former casino director on Monday, testified before a royal commission in Western Australia. Ward claimed that his client John Poynton was unjustly pressured to resign from the casino business.
The Perth Casino Royal Commission has resumed its inquiry on whether Crown Resorts can suitably operate casino gambling. An inquiry was initiated after New South Wales deemed Crown unqualified to receive a casino license in Sydney. Another inquiry in Victoria has also been initiated to review the suitability of the company running Crown Melbourne.
Poynton became the director of Crown Perth in 2004 and joined the board in 2018. He was, however, forced to resign as the chairman and director of Crown Perth in March. Peter Ward, his lawyer claim that his client’s departure from the firm was forced by Crown board chair Helen Coonan.
Poynton is expected to appear before the commission on 28th July this year. Poynton is believed to have been a close confidant of James Packer, the founder of Crown Resorts.
The royal commission deemed Crown unsuitable to receive casino license over alleged Packer’s control over the organization, resulting in adherence shortcomings.
However, Ward says that is not true, adding that Poynton’s role was limited to the non-executive director.
“There was no evidence before the Bergin Inquiry and no suggestion that Mr. Poynton has ever been beholden to Mr. Packer. There is no suggestion that Mr. Poynton ever shared information with Mr. Packer from the Crown Resorts board meetings.”
Coonan also agreed that no evidence indicated Packer acted inappropriately, and his resignation was in the best interest of the Crown shareholders.