Melco allowed to keep certain documents secret in Crown inquiry

Hong Kong-listed Melco Resorts has won a battle to keep its legally privileged documents secret from public inquiry after a decision was made by an NSW court on Tuesday. 

The documents in question relate to a probe into Melco’s suitability into being involved in Crown’s Sydney Barangaroo, launched by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

The ILGA inquiry will also consider whether the same of James Packer’s $1.8 billion stake in Crown to Melco last year was in breach of Crown’s Sydney casino license, due to Melco CEO Lawrence Ho’s ties to his father, Stanley Ho. 

The inquiry was to have the same powers as that of a royal commission, including the ability to compel parties to produce documents and give evidence.

However, Melco took the regulator to the NSW supreme court last week to challenge its right to demand nine documents covered by legal privilege. 

The court ruled in Melco’s favor on Tuesday.

An ILGA spokesman said that it is considering the court judgment and how it may impact the running of the inquiry. 

Last week, Melco backed out on its deal to acquire the second 10 percent tranche of Crown shares – saying it instead needed to focus on its core Asian business. 

The company already has 10 percent and says it does not intend to increase its stake nor seek seats on Crown’s board.