Star Casino VIP Manager Allegedly Stole $13 Million

Former Star Entertainment group CEO, Matt Bekier, revealed a former VIP manager of the casino absconded with $13.3 million.

Just when you thought Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment could not tarnish the image of Australia’s casino industry any more, along comes yet another story about massive failings at one of the two casino giants. A Star VIP manager vanished from the face of the Earth after allegedly transferring $13.3 million into his personal account.

The amazing story about the VIP manager broke during the ongoing inquiry into Star Entertainment’s affairs. Former CEO, Matt Bekier, is giving evidence at the inquiry despite stepping down from his role late last month.

Bekier revealed an unnamed VIP manager worked with Chinese high rollers. Among his various roles, the VIP manager helped with money transfers from the controversial junkets. Bekier informed the inquiry the VIP manager allegedly transferred a $13.3 million payment from a junket into his own account instead of Star’s. Nobody has seen or heard from the alleged thief since the eight-figure heist.

Another VIP Manager Investigated

The inquiry grilled Bekier for three consecutive days despite him no longer working for Star. Bekier oversaw everything good and bad at Star’s properties in his lucrative CEO role.

Bekier confirmed Star investigated the misgivings of another VIP manager. However, they did not finalise the investigation before Star made Marcus Lim redundant. Lim stood accused of accepting kickbacks that funded a lavish lifestyle. In addition, people pointed at Lim for making corrupt payments and associating with criminals.

Lim was the president of international VIP sales, taking up the role in 2019. However, Star made Lim redundant a year later before the investigation finalised. Lim received full pay for six months while on so-called “gardening leave.”

The inquiry asked Bekier is his VIP team was out of control, but Bekier said this was not the case. Special counsel Naomi Sharp continued quizzing Bekier.

“Was this a case of simply shuffling off Marcus Lim quietly so as to avoid making any disclosures of seriously inappropriate conduct of a senior at Star Entertainment Group?”

“Not at all, Ms Sharp,” Bekier replied.

Bekier disagreed the VIP manager and his team lacked proper supervision. This despite acknowledging it was the most vulnerable department due to the huge turnover generated.

“I wouldn’t agree with the characterisation that we completely dropped the ball. But there were clearly shortcomings.”

Bekier Holds Himself Accountable For China Union Pay Scandal

Star found itself in hot water following revelations about the misuse of China Union Pay (CUP) cards. The casino admitted falsifying receipts in order to process gambling payments from well-heeled Chinese gamblers. China Union Pay does not permit gambling with its cards. However, Star disguised the massive gambling payments as legitimate hotel expenses.

“If the board of directors had known about any of these things they would have supported me in shutting down that business a long time ago. I didn’t think the business was out of control, and if I didn’t see those problems I’m not sure the board could have seen them,” Bekier said.

Sharp asked Bekier what responsibility he accepted for the Star culture.

“I’ve taken accountability, I’ve resigned, Ms Sharp. I picked the people, established the processes and structures and policies.”

Bekier’s time in the hot seat is over with these revelations made on his third and final day of grilling. However, many more people with Star links face similar scrutiny over the coming weeks.

Adam Bell SC is overseeing the inquiry, which was due to end on June 30. Bell successfully applied for a two-month extension, moving the end date to August 31.

“The Independent Review of The Star casino will be extended with Adam Bell SC issuing summonses for further witnesses to appear. The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority approved the extension after Mr Bell requested additional time to undertake further lines of inquiry in order to fully discharge his duties.