The ASX’s chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper has resigned immediately amid an investigation into an alleged $200,000 bribery payment made during his time as CEO of gaming firm Tabcorp.
In a statement to the market at 4pm (AEDT), ASX Ltd said Mr Funke Kupper would be replaced by its chairman Rick Holliday-Smith until a permanent replacement was found.
“The board accepted that Elmer wanted to direct his full focus to the investigations which may be made into the Tabcorp matter – and not have them interfere with the important role of leading the ASX,” Mr Holliday-Smith said.
Mr Kupper told The Australian Financial Review he had done nothing wrong but was resigning to avoid a trial by media and to avoid damaging the ASX.
“I have not been told I am being investigated,” he said.
“I have done this in the interests of good corporate governance and the interests of strict process. I have taken this step so that the company is able to build its future.
“This is highly unusual. My name has not been mentioned. I have not been told I am being investigated. My job is to take control of the situation. I am not doing this because I have done anything wrong under the law.”
The ASX board decided Mr Funke Kupper would be paid in lieu of the notice period in his contract, his 2016 pro-rata short-term incentives, and short-term deferred incentives for 2014 and 2015.
In 2010 Tabcorp allegedly made a $200,000 payment to the family of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Mr Funke Kupper was CEO of Tabcorp at the time, when the company was looking at obtaining a licence to run an online gaming operation in Cambodia.
Australian Federal Police are investigating the matter and Mr Funke Kupper said last week he would fully co-operate with their inquiry.
Mr Funke Kupper has also been granted leave from his role as a director of Tabcorp until the AFP investigation is completed.
Cambodian officials have labelled the allegations as “baseless”.