A rueful James Packer has admitted he may need to further distance himself from the Crown casino group, and said he was ‘terribly shocked’ by the exposure of links to organised crime groups and the use of high-roller junkets to bypass Chinese laws.
The 53-year-old appeared via Zoom from his $200million yacht moored in the South Pacific on Thursday to front an inquiry into Crown’s suitability to operate a new luxury casino in Sydney.
Answering questions for the third day, Packer said he expected a significant shake-up to Crown’s governance following revelations Crown had business dealings with Chinese junket operators linked to organised crime.
‘This has been a terribly painful and terribly shocking experience for the board, as it has been for me.
I won’t be going on the board again. The board will be more independent than it was in the past,’ Packer said.
Mr Packer resigned as director of Crown Resorts in December 2015 but as a 36 per cent shareholder he was given privileged information about the operations of the company as part of a ‘major shareholder protocol’.
The 53-year-old appeared via Zoom from his $200million yacht moored in the South Pacific on Thursday to front an inquiry into Crown’s suitability to operate a new luxury casino in Sydney (pictured: James Packer and Kylie Lim seen at Club 55 beach in St Tropez in 2018)
In addition to a board re-structure Packer suggested shareholder caps could be implemented, under which he could be forced to sell down his 36 per cent stake in the company.
Crown’s strategy to use Chinese junket operators to bring in wealthy VIPs to gamble at their casinos was spearheaded by Packer during a joint-venture with Melco Resorts in Macau.
Some of these junket operators have been linked to organised crime figures and allegations of money laundering and using off-shore casinos to flout China’s financial laws.
When asked if he placed sufficient importance on only allowing Crown to do business with people of good repute, Packer told the inquiry that he had only heard rumours of criminal links, not substantiated facts.
Full-page ads placed in the media by Crown after the explosive 2019 reports emerged contained a number of inaccuracies, and Mr Packer said ‘with the benefit of hindsight, I accept that reflects poorly’ on the company.
Among the inaccuracies was that notorious junket operator Suncity was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and that the casino giant had ‘robust’ policies in place to vet any junket operators they dealt with.
Packer’s $200million yacht (pictured) which is currently moored in the South Pacific
The inquiry is investigating probity issues and whether Crown is suitable to operate Sydney new Barangaroo casino (pictured)
Mr Packer said he did not personally deal with junket operators and said it was difficult for casino operators to make decisions on how legitimate junket operators were with ‘half the information’.
‘The casino operators, the government, [anti-money laundering watchdog] AUSTRAC all need to be working together,’ Packer said.
In another shocking admission, Packer said he sent threatening emails to a Melbourne businessman who was working on a privatisation deal with Crown.
Financial executive Ben Gray was leading talks for 크레이지슬롯주소 equity firm TPG Capital in 2015 about investing in Packer’s casino business.
When he told Packer TPG was not willing to cough up $1.5billion, the emails, which resulted in Gray hiring private bodyguards, were sent.
The billionaire previously told the inquiry he suffers from bipolar disorder and takes medication that negatively affects his memory, saying entire months were a blur.
In another shocking admission, Packer said he sent threatening emails to a Melbourne businessman who was working on a privatisation deal with Crown
Packer (pictured on his yacht in May) has been giving evidence to the inquiry via Zoom
Counsel assisting, Adam Bell SC previously asked: ‘How can the NSW regulator have any confidence in your character or integrity in light of your communications in these emails?’
‘Because I’m being treated now for 파라오카지노주소 my bipolar,’ Mr Packer replied. ‘I was sick at the time.’
‘You accept that your conduct in these emails reflects adversely on your character, don’t you?’ Mr Bell asked.
‘My medical state is what it reflected most on,’ Mr Packer said.
Mr Packer agreed an Australian Stock Exchange media release from December 2015 announcing his resignation should have mentioned the health problems which drove him to resign, but said he hoped it would ‘stay a private matter’.
On the second day of the inquiry on Wednesday, Mr Packer blamed Crown Resorts executives for 007카지노주소 corporate failures which led to the arrest of staff in China.
Nineteen Crown staff were arrested in October 2016 over claims they had promoted gambling in China – which is an offence on the mainland.
More than a year before in June 2015, South Korean casino workers had been arrested in China for similar offences.
The inquiry report is expected in early 2021.
The Crown Hotel and Casino in Melbourne.
Mr Packer blamed Crown Resorts executives for corporate failures which led to the arrest of staff in China