Melco wins legal privilege fight with NSW casino probe

Tuesday 11th February 2020

Asian casino giant Melco Resorts will not have to produce certain documents to the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority's (ILGA) inquiry into its purchase of a stake in Crown Resorts, after the NSW Supreme Court found the probe does not have the power of a royal commission.

Melco, which last week said it would not proceed buying a second tranche of shares in Crown from billionaire James Packer, took the ILGA to court after the authority rejected Melco's contention it did not have to produce certain documents it said were protected by legal professional privilege.

The ILGA probe is examining whether it is appropriate that Melco, which is run by billionaire Lawrence Ho, becomes a close associate of Crown.

Mr Ho's father, Stanley, who indirectly owns a stake in Melco, is effectively blackballed from NSW because of his alleged links to organised crime. Stanley has always denied those links and Lawrence has long argued he is completely independent of his father.

Supreme Court judge Justice Christine Adamson found that the NSW Royal Commission Act "has not come into effect for the purposes of the inquiry" and Melco's "privileges, including legal professional privilege, are not abrogated for the purposes of an inquiry".

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