James Packer: Bipolar Disorder Made Me Send ‘Shameful’ Threats
Posted on: October 6, 2020, 05:34h.
Last updated on: October 6, 2020, 09:17h.
Crown Resorts billionaire James Packer told a licensing suitability hearing in New South Wales, Australia that he made threats to unnamed business executives five years ago because he was suffering from bipolar disorder. He also claimed that the “strong medication” he was taking to help his condition affected his memory of certain events.
Looking bloated and withdrawn, Packer testified via video link from his superyacht in the South Pacific. At stake is Crown Resorts’ Sydney license and the $2 billion Crown Sydney, which will be the Australian capital’s tallest building. It’s scheduled to open at the end of this year.
The inquiry was launched in response to reports in the Australian media that Crown turned a blind eye to criminal elements within the junket industry with which it did business. It also allowed itself to be used as a conduit for money laundering by high-rolling criminals.
The inquiry could recommend that Crown is no longer fit to hold a casino license in Sydney, throwing the $2 billion project into jeopardy.
Threatening Mr. X
On Tuesday, counsel assisting Adam Bell SC wanted to know about a 2015 email exchange between Packer and two private investors, known as Mr. Y and Mr. X. Their financial assistance was sought by Packer in an aborted bid to take Crown Resorts private.
The exact words of Packer’s emails have not been made public, but they were described by Bell as “verbally threatening,” and by Packer, ruefully, as “shameful” and “disgraceful.”
“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?”
“I’d clearly forgotten that,” Packer responded.
“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,” Packer said.
Packer resigned as director of the Crown board shortly after the email exchange, only to rejoin in 2017 and resign again in 2018, citing mental health problems. He remains the majority shareholder.
He is scheduled to resume his testimony on Wednesday, when he is expected to be quizzed about his share sale to Melco Resorts, which the inquiry has suggested may have been subject to insider trading.
It’s lousy timing for Packer that this also happens to be the week that ex-fiancée Mariah Carey chose to speak to the press about her new memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, in which she neglects to mention Packer at all.
“If it was a relationship that mattered, it’s in the book. If not, it didn’t occur… We didn’t have a physical relationship, to be honest with you,” she told The Guardian when asked about the striking omission of the man she agreed to marry in 2016.
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