ASX Chief Steps Down Amid Probe Into Payment

The chief executive of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) resigned his post on Monday in the wake of an investigation into a possible $200,000 bribe paid by a gaming firm he previously headed to a consultancy with connections to a sister of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The Australian Federal Police announced last week that it had opened an investigation into Tabcorp over the payment, following a report by Fairfax Media claiming the money had gone to an unnamed Cambodian consultancy with ties to one of Mr. Hun Sen’s sisters in an ultimately abandoned bid to set up an online gaming operation here.

ASX chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper was the CEO of Tabcorp when the Cambodian firm allegedly received the money in 2010. In a statement on Monday, the ASX said Mr. Kupper’s resignation was effective immediately.

“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 to have them interfere with the important role of leading the ASX,” it said.

Tabcorp announced on Monday that Mr. Kupper was also stepping down from the gaming firm’s board of directors “until the completion of the investigation by the Australian Federal Police.”

In an interview with Fairfax Media on Monday, Mr. Kupper neither confirmed nor denied the payment but said he had done nothing wrong.

“My name has not been mentioned. I have not been told I am being investigated,” he was quoted as saying. “My job is to take control of the situation. I am not doing this because I have done anything wrong under the law.”

Australian law forbids giving benefits to a foreign official or their representative to obtain a business advantage.

The head of Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit and the director of the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s financial industry department, which regulates the country’s gaming operators, said on Monday they knew nothing about the case and had not been contacted by Australian authorities in connection with their investigation.

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