Key Crown whistleblower yet to front royal commissions

by Ethan Anderson Last Updated
Crown advised China employees to be ‘low-key’

The whistleblower that instigated a New South Wales inquiry and royal commission’s in two states has not been called as a witness to either proceeding.

ABC News reports that Jenny Liang has questioned why she hasn’t been asked to front the concurrent royal commissions reviewing Crown Resorts’ suitability to hold casino licences in the states.

Ms Liang worked as an administrative assistant for Crown Resorts for five years in Shanghai before she was arrested and detained alongside 18 colleagues in October 2016 for breaking Chinese gambling laws.

Her allegations about how Crown put profits before the safety of its own people, first published in 2019, helped spark the inquiry which led to Crown being found unsuitable to hold a New South Wales casino licence.

The Bergin inquiry exposed issues with money laundering, poor governance and the operation of junkets with links to organised crime.

Many of the findings related to incidents and behaviour at the Melbourne and Perth casinos, as well as Crown’s operations in China, including that Ms Jiang was “imprisoned for simply doing her job”.

The Perth Royal Commission and the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence in Victoria are now separately investigating the suitability of Crown to hold casino licences in each of those states.

But Ms Jiang said there has been little to no interest from either inquiry to examine her as a witness.

“I can provide firsthand evidence of Crown’s operations in China and of the consequences of those operations,” she said.

“I can also give evidence about the human cost of Crown’s conduct which the royal commission needs to hear in order to do its job properly.”

Ms Jiang said her lawyers had been contacted by the Victorian royal commission for a “general discussion” but she had received no response since asking if there would be funding for her legal representation.

The Commission said it had obtained “extensive information relating to topics of relevance for Ms Jiang.”

These sources include the Bergin inquiry and “content of media interviews with Ms Jiang.”

The Commission said it was required “not to duplicate the work of the Bergin inquiry” and that it was “unlikely” Ms Jiang would be called.

Jiang left waiting for apology from Crown

As a Crown whistleblower, Ms Jiang said she had never given evidence at any inquiry or court about the company’s operations in China.

“What I have said in the media is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

“I also find it strange that the royal commission has also not asked me if I have any documents such as emails.

“The whole thing is quite bizarre and I am not sure why the royal commission is not talking to us about what’s going on.”

Ms Jiang said there has been no contact at all from the Perth royal commission.

A spokesperson for the commission said the schedule for the next phase of public hearings had not been set.

“If witnesses like myself are not called then the royal commissions simply won’t have all of the critical evidence and its findings will be affected,” she said.

Ms Jiang revealed in 2020 that she had never received an apology from Crown Resorts after the company attacked her credibility in full-page newspaper advertisements signed by the board.

Crown Resorts chairman Helen Coonan conceded during her evidence at the NSW inquiry that the board’s attack on Ms Jiang was “highly inappropriate” and that their former employee deserved an apology.

Ms Jiang is suing Crown for damages.

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