ASX Chief Walks Amid Tabcorp Bribery Allegations

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

ASX Ltd, the most profitable company listed on the ASX, is looking for a new CEO after the incumbent, Elmer Funke Kupper resigned immediately yesterday afternoon to confront allegations of foreign bribery against Tabcorp during his time as head of the gaming company.

“The ASX board accepted that Elmer wanted to direct his full focus to the investigations which may be made into the Tabcorp matter — and not have them interfere with the important role of leading the ASX,” chairman Rick Holliday-Smith said in a statement issued just before 4 pm, when trading ended for the day.

ASX shares fell 0.4% yesterday (in a generally weaker market) to $41.13.

ASX 1Y – Bribe probe forces Elmer Funke Kupper to resign

According to yesterday’s statement, Mr Holliday-Smith will lead the company as executive chairman while a national and international search is conducted for a new CEO.

“Elmer has demonstrated leadership and energy during his time at ASX,” Mr Holliday-Smith said. “He hands over a stronger team and a core franchise well positioned for future opportunities.”’

Mr Funke Kupper, who earned $3.5 million as CEO of ASX, has also taken a leave of absence from Tabcorp’s board until the completion of the investigation into the bribery claims, Tabcorp said in a separate statement issued after the ASX Ltd announcement.

He has served as a non-executive director since mid-2012 and was CEO of the gaming company from September 2007 to June 2011.

Tabcorp confirmed last week that it had been advised that the Australian Federal Police had started an investigation into Tabcorp’s proposal in 2009 to enter the Cambodian sports betting market.

The company said the AFP investigation referred to reports in Fairfax Media reports about a Cambodian payment. The report said Tabcorp was under scrutiny for a $200,000 payment to the family of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Fairfax Media said yesterday that it “can now reveal that Mr Funke Kupper is himself the subject of a criminal investigation in Australia and the United States."

“He was one of a small executive management team which was warned explicitly and directly by fellow senior Tabcorp staff about the legal and integrity risks relating to the payment.

"Fairfax Media has identified two senior staff members at Tabcorp who had serious concerns about the Cambodian strategy and payment, but has decided not to name them for legal reasons,” Fairfax reported

“The payment was made by Tabcorp in the face of this advice,” Fairfax claimed.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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