Crown (ASX:CWN) share price slumps amid accusations against chair

Former Crown director John Poynton has accused Crown’s chair of forcing him out and threatening his reputation.

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The Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN) share price is in the red today after the company’s former director criticised its current chair.

According to former director John Poynton, Crown’s chair Helen Coonan, along with NSW Independent Liquor and Gambling Authority (ILGA) chair Philip Crawford attempted to wrongly axe his position on the board.

Right now, the Crown share price is $8.74 – 1.02% lower than its closing price yesterday.

Let’s take a closer look at Poynton’s criticisms.

Poynton speaks out

The Crown share price is falling after Poynton spoke to the Perth Casino Royal Commission yesterday.

Poynter told the commission Coonan and Crawford forced him to leave Crown’s board. He claims the 2 forced him to resign despite Commissioner Patricia Bergin having no issue with his position.

Poynton left Crown’s board on March 1 2021 due to his previous ties with James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH). The Crown board was concerned Poynton’s former position risked the Crown board’s independence.

Poynton said:

I was placed in a position where both the chair of the company and Mr Crawford were suggesting that my staying on the board would mean that the licence [from ILGA] would not be granted and in one stage I was given two hours’ notice to quit the board.

I got off the board because I thought at the time it was in the best interests of the company if the company was not going to be given a licence by ILGA and Mr Crawford.

Some six months later, the company still doesn’t have a licence. Therefore, I respectfully put that me being on the board would have nothing to do with that.

Poynton also claimed he was subject to a media campaign that was “based, in [his] view, on a false premise”. He said:

There was nothing in probity in NSW to say that someone couldn’t be on the board of a casino company merely because of a previous association with Mr Packer.

In Poynton’s witness statement, he said he was willing to step down if Crawford would confirm his resignation was only due to his previous ties with CPH. Poynton believed this would have helped protect his reputation.

However, Crawford and Coonan refused. Poynton said:

There were subsequent further threats made by both Mr Crawford and Ms Coonan that led me to have an untenable position.

Those interested can find the full, unedited transcript of Poynton’s appearance at the hearing here.

Crown share price snapshot

This year hasn’t been good for the Crown share price.

It has fallen 11% year to date. It is also 3% lower than it was this time last year.

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