In a big achievement for Hong Kong casino giant Melco Resorts, the NSW Supreme Court has ruled that the casino operator will not be liable to produce documents supposed to be protected by the legal privilege to a public inquiry.
The New South Wales Supreme Court has decided in favor of MRE and ruled that NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority or ILGA does not have the legal power to compel the casino giant to showcase documents highlighting MRE CEO Lawrence Ho’s associations to firms connected to his father, Stanley.
Now MRE can keep the legally privileged documents away from a public inquiry that is investing its acquisition of a 20 percent stake in Crown Resorts from James Packer.
Meanwhile, ILGA historical inquiry is likely to probe in the months to come to the inner-working of Melco to decide if it is an appropriate company to be involved in Crown’s new casino that is slated to open at Sydney’s Barangaroo in 2021.
It is worth noting that ILGA had begun its investigation earlier last year soon after MRE had seized a deal to purchase approximately 20 percent stake in leading OZ’s casino operator Crown Resorts. When ILGA came to know that Lawrence Ho held the position of director in companies related to Stanley, it began an inquiry into Lawrence’s suitability.
Recently, MRE had decided to stop its Crown deal after purchasing the initial 10 percent tranche. Now it has made the announcement of abandoning its chase for the remaining 10 percent, saying that it needs to emphasize its ongoing operations in Macau and the Philippines that have been affected by a coronavirus.
MRE has also decided to file its legal challenge of the ILGA’s document search on the reasons that the documents were secured by the attorney-client privilege. MRE also sought to know if ILGA has the power of exercising features of Australian law that would permit the regulator to overrule such privileges.
NSW Supreme Court Justice Christine Adamson has favored MRE and said that the NSW parliament had not given ILGA the authority under the Royal Commission Act.