Casino billionaire James Packer acknowledges sending threatening emails to Mr. X
Australian casino billionaire James Packer has admitted that he had sent threatening emails to an unnamed business executive in 2015, but he claimed that he did all that under the influence of “strong medication” that he had to take to treat his bipolar disorder condition.
Packer, who has a significant stake in gambling & entertainment giant Crown Resorts, acknowledged sending threatening emails during a licensing suitability hearing in New South Wales. He testified via video link from his superyacht in the South Pacific.
The hearing was conducted to determine whether his Crown Resorts is suitable to keep its Sydney gaming license as well as the $2 billion Crown Sydney, which is going to be the tallest building in the largest city of Australia. The under construction building is expected to open its doors to the members of the general public by the end of 2020.
The hearing was part of an ongoing inquiry, which was launched in response to media reports that Crown Resorts turned a blind eye to criminal elements operating in the junket industry. The casino giant was also accused of facilitating the criminal elements in laundering of black money.
If the inquiry report recommends that Crown Resorts is no longer fit to hold a gaming license in Sydney, the future of the $2 billion project will slip into trouble.
In the latest hearing, counsel assisting Adam Bell SC wanted to know about email exchanges in 2015 between Packer and two private investors, identified as Mr. Y and Mr. X, who were reportedly providing financial assistance to Packer in his aborted bid to acquire Crown Resorts. While the precise words of Packer’s emails haven’t been made public, they were described by Bell as “threatening,” “disgraceful,” and “shameful.”
During the hearing, Packer was asked, “At the time of these emails, Mr. Packer, you understood that you had an obligation not to engage in conduct likely to bring discredit onto Crown Resorts, didn’t you? You accept that your conduct in these emails reflects adversely on your character, don’t you?”
Responding to the questions, Packer just said that his medical state (bipolar disorder condition) was responsible for all that.
Packer has stepped down as director of the Crown Resorts board shortly after the controversial email exchange in 2015, but he rejoined in 2017 and resigned again in 2018, citing certain mental health issues. He continues to be the majority shareholder in the casino resort.
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