AFP wraps up Tabcorp Cambodian bribery case

11 September 2019

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has closed a three-year investigation into allegations of bribery made against lotteries and betting operator Tabcorp due to a lack of evidence.

The AFP will take no further action on the matter, explaining that there was not enough evidence to support a criminal prosecution, according to Australian media reports.

Tabcorp, which noted that it had cooperated fully throughout the investigation, welcomed the conclusion of the case.

The investigation was launched in 2016, following allegations made in an Australian newspaper that Tabcorp had made a payment to the family of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2009 or 2010.

The payment was allegedly made as part of the operator’s efforts to secure an online gaming licence in the country, with Cambodia then considering allowing online sports betting. However, Tabcorp said at the time, it chose not to pursue the opportunity and never launched in the market.

Within days of the investigation being launched, former Tabcorp chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper stepped down from his position on the company’s board.

He had served as CEO at the time the payment had reportedly been made, but had since moved on to become chief executive of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). He initially took a leave of absence from his executive and director roles until the investigation was completed, before ultimately resigning.

Cambodia’s government ultimately began offering online gaming licences in 2015. However, following pressure from China and government concerns about illegal operators, it put a halt to the issuing of new igaming licences in August, before Premier Hun Sen ordered the industry be shut down by the end of the year.