Australia stock market chief resigns amid bribery probe

SYDNEY (AFP) - The head of Australia's stock market operator resigned on Monday (March 21), amid a police inquiry into bribery allegations at a gaming group he previously managed.

Mr Elmer Funke Kupper, ASX managing director and CEO since October 2011, previously headed Tabcorp - which describes itself as one of the world's largest publicly listed gambling companies.

It is currently being investigated over an alleged payment, reportedly A$200,000 (S$205,600) to a company run by relatives of Mr Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, where Tabcorp had been looking to expand.

"I have done this in the interests of good corporate governance and the interests of strict process," Mr Funke Kupper told Fairfax Media.

"My name has not been mentioned. I have not been told I am being investigated. My job is to take control of the situation."

He told reporters last week he could not recall such a payment during his four years in charge at Tabcorp, which said it did not pursue the opportunity in Cambodia.

ASX chairman Rick Holliday-Smith said the board "accepted that Elmer wanted to direct his full focus to the investigations which may be made into the Tabcorp matter - and not have them interfere with the important role of leading the ASX".

He will take over Mr Funke Kupper's duties while a replacement is found, the Australian Securities Exchange said in a statement.

Mr Funke Kupper remained a director at Tabcorp and he was granted leave of absence from the board, said the Australian gambling and entertainment giant.