DETAINED AUSSIES RECEIVE CONSULAR SUPPORT IN CHINA (Update)
Crown Resorts hires lawyers as consular officials establish contact with detained execs in Shanghai.
Overnight developments on the detention of 18 Crown Resorts employees in China – including three visiting Australian managers – were briefed by the company Tuesday.
Crown advised that it had hired legal representation in China, and that it was providing support for the employees and their families.
James Packer, a major shareholder in the company, said:
"I am respectful, that these detentions have occurred in another country and are therefore subject to their sovereign rules and investigative processes. Crown will do whatever it can to support our employees and their families".
The federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that its local officials had been given access to the detained Australians, but did not elaborate further.
However, media reports quoting insider sources suggested that the arrests are on charges that there have been violations of Chinas strict laws prohibiting the direct marketing of casinos and gambling.
Jason OConnor, one of the detained Australians, is a senior executive whose responsibilities include persuading international high rollers to visit Crown casinos in Australia, they pointed out.
The Bloomberg business news site reported that Chinese authorities warned Crown Resorts Ltd. last year to halt its efforts to attract high rollers from the mainland to gamble overseas, according to an unnamed source familiar with the issue.
Fears that the arrests may herald the beginning of a renewed Chinese government drive against corruption, and by association gambling caused uncertainty in international markets, with some volatility in share trading reported, particularly in Asia.