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Aristocrat Execs' Live the High Life

15 December 2003

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the (Australia) Age: "Senior executives of Aristocrat Leisure are used to living life in the fast lane at company expense, Allison Jackson writes.

"Just a few weeks after reporting a $32.9 million (US$24.4 million) first-half loss in August, poker machine maker Aristocrat's acting chief executive David Creary and a coterie of senior executives and directors flew to Las Vegas and checked into one of the world's most expensive casino complexes, the Bellagio.

"After a tumultuous six months, in which the company's share price tumbled more than 60 per cent, wiping more than $1 billion off its value, Creary and his colleagues left their worries on the tarmac at Sydney's airport and kicked up their heels, five-star style, in the casino capital of the world.

"Aristocrat's senior executives and directors have a history of spending company money on generous salaries for themselves, expensive houses and lavish furnishings.

"The former chief executive, Des Randall, who was sacked in April after a $28.8 million (US$24.4 million) profit downgrade, divided his time between the company's $4.1 million house in Balmoral and a house next to a golf course in the Anthem Country Club development, an exclusive suburb of Las Vegas and home to Hollywood actors and music stars, which he bought courtesy of a $2.6 million (US$1.9 million) interest-only loan from Aristocrat.

"…Against this backdrop of corporate extravagance, Aristocrat's chief operating officer David Creary, 55, is alleged to have carried out more than $22,500 in improvements to two of his houses on Sydney's northern beaches. The costs were invoiced back to the company.

"…David Creary is no stranger to controversy. He found himself in hot water last year when he was grilled over evidence he gave in an alleged $70,000 fraud.

"…Former colleagues described Creary as a talented salesman who knew how to `cut a deal'…"

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