News State NSW News Star lawyer denies limiting paper trail
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Star lawyer denies limiting paper trail

Star casino
Outgoing chairman John O'Neil has conceded parts of Star's business went badly wrong. Photo: AAP
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A chief lawyer for the Star casino has faced questions about whether he marked things “confidential” and pushed colleagues to communicate verbally to avoid leaving a paper trail for regulators.

The head of inquiry Adam Bell extended the probe on Friday afternoon as he summoned more witness to appear, with a final report due to the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority at the end of August, two months later than the original June 30 deadline.

It comes as the Star’s former group treasurer Sarah Scopel resigned from Woolworths Group after she gave evidence to the Star inquiry last month, admitting she misled National Australia Bank and China UnionPay over transactions made at the casino.

“Woolworths Group and Sarah Scopel have mutually agreed that Sarah will step down from her role as group treasurer for Woolworths Group with immediate effect,” a spokesperson for the supermarket giant said on Friday.

Ms Scopel is not the first ex-Star executive to suffer fallout from the damning inquiry of the casino, with chief executive Matt Bekier having also stepped down from his role.

On Friday, Star’s group general counsel Andrew Power fronted the inquiry, where he was pointed to emails by him that were normally prefaced “privileged and confidential” marking them as legal advice and therefore outside the scope of regulatory probes.

Mr Power denied he did this to avoid scrutiny.

He also denied telling the casino’s internal investigators “no more emails” for the same reason, saying he wanted investigators to get up from there desks and talk to the business.

Mr Power said at the time he was receiving a lot of emails.

“I don’t recall why I put that in that note, it was a very rough note,” he said.

“I don’t believe there was any suggestion I was telling investigators not to document things.”

The evidence follows testimony from the Star’s group counsel corporate, Oliver White, who became emotional on Thursday as he told the inquiry he could have done more to prevent suspected money laundering at the casino.

Mr Power said he had been concerned by the video footage of the Star’s high roller suite, Salon 95, which was used by gambling junket operators, with cameras capturing them dumping large amounts of cash in the VIP room’s cage.

“They were concerns that the conduct we observed were money laundering,” Mr Power said.

The inquiry has also heard claims Star enabled money laundering at its international operations, breached rules on the use of Chinese debit cards, and allowed patrons to walk out of the casino with large numbers of gaming chips.

It has also heard the VIP room was being used by China-based junket operators with suspected organised crime links.

Ms Scopel told the inquiry in March the casino had lied to NAB and CUP when it said large transactions were not gambling related, even when The Star was allowing clients to bill gambling spending as hotel expenses.

– AAP