Billionaire Lawrence Ho confirmed to the Herald and The Age on Friday that he will appear “if requested” before the inquiry.
The probe will examine whether Crown’s Sydney casino licence was breached when James Packer sold a 19.9 per cent stake in Crown to Hong Kong group Melco Resorts, which is controlled by Mr Ho.
In a statement issued on Friday, Mr Ho said Melco was committed to assisting the inquiry “where it is able” and that he had informed the inquiry he would “make myself available to appear at a hearing if requested”.
Mr Packer, long-standing Packer family operators Guy Jalland and Michael Johnston and Crown Resorts executive chairman John Alexander have also been called to give evidence.
Mr Ho is the son of 98 year old Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho, who, along with a list of associated entities, is banned from involvement with Crown due to alleged links to organised crime. Stanley Ho has denied those allegations.
In 2006, Stanley Ho stepped down as chairman of Melco to help expedite probity checks by the Victorian regulator, which had been running for two years, into the joint venture between Melco and what was then Mr Packer’s Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd (PBL).
Stanley Ho owned more than 11 per cent of Melco at that time, according to the company’s 2005 annual report.
PBL and Melco initially planned to run their Macau casinos under the gambling licence held by Stanley Ho’s Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM).
Melco, which has signalled it wants to take full control of Crown, has previously passed local probity checks in Victoria, in 2005, and NSW, in 2014.
In an opening submission last week, Mr Bell laid out the corporate web behind Melco Resorts.
He submitted that one company that acquired an indirect interest in Crown through Melco’s purchase of almost half of Mr Packer’s Crown stake in the company was Great Respect Limited, which is one of the companies banned from involvement in Barangaroo.
“Crown Resorts’ position was that it was not informed of the share sale until after it had been executed, and in any event it was not within the power of Crown Resorts to prevent the execution of that agreement,” Mr Bell said.
Crown’s new $2.4 billion high-roller casino and hotel, which is under construction at Sydney’s Barangaroo, is due to open early next year.
Colin Kruger is a business reporter. He joined the Sydney Morning Herald in 1999 as its technology editor. Other roles have included the Herald’s deputy business editor and online business editor.