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Oct 11 (Reuters) – Australian shares ended lower on Monday as Star Entertainment Group fell by more than a fifth on media reports that the casino operator failed to do enough to prevent money laundering and fraud at its resorts.
Crown Resorts, already under intense scrutiny for its own failings, also fell over 3%, highlighting investor fears of drawn-out regulatory scrutiny for the sector.
The benchmark ASX 200 index closed 0.3% lower at 7,299.8, although heavyweight miners registered strong gains on the back of rising iron ore prices.
Fortescue Metals Group added more than 5%, as investors picked up the stock that has been hovering around its lowest levels in more than a year.
The company said on Monday it plans to build the world’s biggest electrolyser factory, looking to jump-start the green hydrogen industry in Australia.
BHP Group and Rio Tinto gained 0.9% and 1.9%, respectively.
Star Entertainment Group shares slid 22.9%, their sharpest plunge since March last year, after media outlets detailed a confidential review accusing the casino operator of failing to rein in money laundering and fraud.
Given the scrutiny Crown has faced, Jefferies said this is unhelpful to Star and could weigh on investors ahead of its own casino licence renewals.
Tech and healthcare stocks also fell, with Afterpay dropping 4.2%.
On the flip side, fuel supplier Ampol climbed 2.9% after Z Energy backed its NZ$1.97 billion takeover bid for the New Zealand firm, whose shares rose nearly 7% on the news.
New Zealand shares fell half a percent to 13,019.37 – their fifth straight session in the red.
Auckland Airport and Air New Zealand fell more than 1% each, while top construction firm Fletcher Building dropped 1.4%. (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)