Former Jailed Crown Employee Takes Casino Giant to Court

gavel for court room

Photo by David Veksler

A Crown Resorts employee who blew the whistle on the company’s conduct in China is taking the casino giant to the Supreme Court.

The ABC reports that Jenny Jiang was one of 19 Crown staff arrested and jailed in China in 2016 for breaking Chinese gambling laws.

In November, she told the ABC she did not receive an apology from the Crown board after it publicly attacked her as a “gold digger” in newspaper ads for blowing the whistle on the company last year, leading to a NSW government inquiry.

Ms Jiang has now revealed she is suing Crown for damages.

“Crown operated in China without care for their staff,” she said.

“Their actions hurt me and my family and they have not been accountable. I want justice.”

Ms Jiang’s lawyer, Jeremy King from Robinson Gill lawyers said Ms Jiang was seeking compensation against Crown Resorts in respect to breaches of the duty of care it owed her as an employer.

“Jenny wants to shine a light on the practices of Crown and its alleged scant disregard for its staff and their welfare,” Mr King said.

“Crown’s treatment has really impacted her psychologically and continues to impact her on a daily basis.”

Ms Jiang was an administrative assistant for Crown Resorts for five years in Shanghai before she was arrested in October 2016.

“Every year, the night we’ve been arrested, it feels like an anniversary for us,” she said.

“But it wasn’t a good memory because you remember that forever.”

Full-page advertisements “highly inappropriate” – Crown chair

The former employee alleges Crown put profits before the safety of its staff and this was first reported in 2019, sparking a powerful inquiry into whether the company was fit to hold a licence for its new high-roller casino in Sydney.

A long list of high-profile witnesses appeared before the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming inquiry, including Crown’s directors and board members, as well as its major shareholder, billionaire James Packer.

During her evidence at the inquiry, Crown Resorts chair Helen Coonan conceded the board’s attack on Ms Jiang in full-page newspaper advertisements last year was “highly inappropriate’>

The Crown advertisements questioned Ms Jiang’s “objectivity” citing “an unsuccessful demand for compensation from Crown of over 50 times her final annual salary.”

The inquiry’s commissioner, former judge Patricia Bergin, suggested to Ms Coonan the Consolidated Press Holdings directors would have been able to make Ms Jiang’s annual salary in a month.

Ms Jiang said she was paid an annual salary of $27,000.

“They’re saying I’m a gold digger, what’s their judgement for a gold digger?” she questioned.

“My salary, compared to people in sales at Crown, is just a tiny little bit.

“We actually get the risk of this job, but your risk is not equal to how much you get paid.”

A Crown spokeswoman said the company had embarked on a “major reform program” and “taken significant steps to strengthen its governance, compliance and culture to improve accountability and transparency” since the chair took on her role earlier this year.

“While we acknowledge we have more to do, the board has a deep respect and understanding of its obligations to provide good corporate stewardship,” Crown said in its statement.

Ms Jiang said working from Crown Resorts in China had come at a great personal cost.

Not only did she lose her job with the company after she was jailed, but Ms Jiang said her mental health had also been affected, as well as her job prospects now she had a criminal record in China.

“We brought so much revenue, so much business and profit for Crown,” she said.

“And we were just dumped like a used napkin.”

William Brown

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