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The Star hit with 2 more class actions over 24-hour period

Two class actions have been filed against The Star Entertainment Group, following allegations of inflated share prices and non-disclosure of systemic money laundering, links to organised crime, fraud and corruption.

user iconLauren Croft 07 February 2023 Big Law
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On Monday (6 February), Phi Finney McDonald filed a class action on behalf of shareholders against The Star Entertainment Group in the Supreme Court of Victoria, alleging that The Star’s share price was inflated due to breaches of continuous disclosure obligations and misleading and deceptive conduct.

Then, on Tuesday morning, Shine Lawyers filed a similar class action for alleged misconduct the firm said caused the company’s stock price to plummet, impacting investors who purchased shares between March 2016 and June 2022.  

In December last year, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against 11 current and former directors and officers of The Star Entertainment Group, including its former group general counsel and company secretary, for alleged breaches of the Corporations Act.


This came after the launch of a class action from Slater & Gordon in March 2022 and the commencement of civil penalty proceedings against The Star by the financial crime watchdog, AUSTRAC, in late November, as well as the launching of a second class action against the entertainment group in early November by national plaintiff firm Maurice Blackburn.

The Star allegedly failed to make disclosures to the market about systemic non-compliance money-laundering, links to organised crime, fraud, corruption, conduct disguising gambling money as hotel expenses and terrorism-financing risks, as well as associated regulatory risk involved in its misconduct, even after they were raised in a 2018 report prepared by leading consultancy firm KPMG.

After these misconduct allegations were revealed in October 2021, The Star’s share price fell by 23 per cent and, following additional revelations, has now lost more than $1 billion off its market value.

In a statement to the ASX on Monday night, The Star said it intends to defend the proceedings.

“The claim alleges that in the period between 29 March 2016 and 13 June 2022, The Star made misleading representations, including about its systems and processes for compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing obligations, that it failed to disclose relevant information it had about those matters to the market, and conducted its affairs contrary to the interests of the members of The Star as a whole,” the statement said.

“The claim is substantially similar to the separate securities class actions filed by Slater & Gordon announced on 30 March 2022 and Maurice Blackburn announced on 7 November 2022.”

Phi Finney McDonald director Tim Finney said the case was launched following an extensive investigation.

“We have conducted detailed due diligence into the proceeding, including the Bell Review in NSW, the Gotterson Review in Queensland, the AUSTRAC proceeding against Star and the ASIC proceeding against current and former directors of Star,” he said.

Shine’s joint head of class actions, Craig Allsopp, said investors were the biggest losers of The Star’s “gamble with the truth”.

“We allege Star knew, or ought to have known, that this wide-ranging misconduct occurred and that it would have a hugely detrimental impact for its shareholders once exposed,” he said.

“Star represented to investors that it was a safe bet, when it was anything but, and we’ll be looking to hold Star to account for their losses.”

Following the publication of this story, the Star made an additional announcement to the ASX, stating it also intends to defend the proceedings against Shine Lawyers' claim.

"The Star Entertainment Group Limited has been served by Shine Lawyers with a statement of claim for a securities class action in the Supreme Court of Victoria. The claim alleges that in the period between 29 March 2016 and 25 May 2022, The Star made misleading representations and did not disclose information which should have been disclosed, including about its systems and processes for compliance with anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing obligations, and conduct relating to junkets, Star’s accounts with the Bank of China Macau, and China Union Pay transitions," the statement says. 

"The claim overlaps considerably with the separate securities class actions filed by Slater & Gordon (announced on 30 March 2022), Maurice Blackburn (7 November 2022) and Phi Finney McDonald (6 February 2023)."