New details revealed in Crown Resorts case including confidential Packer-Poynton agreement

It has been disclosed that a Perth businessman agreed on a confidential deal with Crown Resorts’ James Packer. 

As reported by ABC News, businessman John Poynton agreed to provide confidential information about Crown businesses to Packer.  

The deal is believed to be part of a $50,000-a-year consultancy, details of which were told to the Perth Casino Royal Commission.  

The agreement was made in May 2018, during the time which saw Poynton replace Packer on the Crown board.  

After joining the board, Poynton went on to become its Chair in early 2020, before resigning after “pressure” from current chair Helen Coonan and the New South Wales gambling watchdog.  

Patricia Cahill, the counsel assisting the Royal Commission, said that under the terms of the consultancy agreement, Poynton had to provide confidential information on demand.  

Poynton was giving evidence during the first day of witness hearings earlier this week.  

During the hearing, he said the entire arrangement was Packer’s idea and “that’s what he wanted to do and I agreed.” 

However, he claimed that Packer had not asked for any confidential information from him. 

In addition, the lead commissioner of the Crown Resorts case, Neville Owen, has declared a financial relationship with billionaire Kerry Stokes.  

On Monday, Owen thought it was within the “interests of transparency” to disclose his relationship with Stokes, since he is Chairman of the Board at Seven West Media and Maryna Fewster; the CEO of Seven West will be appearing in court as a witness. 

Nevertheless, he felt his “close personal association” did not raise any conflict of interest.  

He further disclosed that some of his children were friends with the brother of Joshua Preston, the former Crown Resorts legal officer, also due to appear in court.   

WA Premier, Mark McGowan, said there was “no problem with knowing someone” and that he believed the commissioner had not breached anything.