James Packer is a man on the run from law enforcement agencies in China and Israel. Mr Packer’s company, Crown Resorts, is also being sued for tax dodging and by shareholders who claim they were lied to and/or deceived by Packer’s management team.
China arrested 18 of Packer’s casino staff in October last year and without a doubt they would arrest and question Packer if they could. Israel police also want to question Mr Packer is relation to allegations he bribed the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Australian billionaires being held to account
My main reason for following James Packer’s handiwork in recent times and writing this article is because there are 18 of his staff in jail in China potentially awaiting long jail sentences and have little chance of a fair trial if their courts are as corrupt as they are said to be.
But James Packer isn’t the only Australian billionaire being held to account with major legal problems. Gina Rinehart is being sued by her own children:
“Bianca Rinehart has been given the green light to sue her estranged mother Gina for alleged misconduct in managing the multibillion-dollar family trust, including allegations she “improperly spent company money on personal expenses”.” (Click here to read more)
And Kerry Stokes has legal problems all over the place and his biggest worry would have to be the rumoured episode of the ABC’s Four Corners on corporate governance at Seven West Media where Kerry Stokes is chairman. And then of course Stokes is now up against high-profile barrister Julian Burnside QC who is representing Amber Harrison in her Fair Work Commission battle against Seven.
Packer’s company, Crown Resorts, is also being sued for $362 million by the Australian Tax Office and serious questions are being asked about the legality of the NSW Government granting Packer approval to build a second casino in Sydney.
The arrests of 18 Crown Resorts staff, including 3 Australians, was first reported on the 15th of October 2016. The arrests were allegedly for gambling crimes in China where it is apparently illegal to organise for people to go on gambling trips. For example, organising for Chinese citizens to travel to Australia to gamble.
The Crown Resorts share price started plummeting the next trading day.
In November 2016 the Chinese authorities announced formal arrests. “Chinese officials on Tuesday officially notified the federal government the trio had been formally arrested. No charges have yet been laid.“
At about the same time Packer started selling down his Chinese investments through Crown Resorts.
In December 2016, it was reported:
James Packer’s Crown Resorts is staging a massive retreat from its troubled international operations, selling down its stake in Macau casinos and abandoning plans to build in Las Vegas.
Crown said on Thursday it had agreed to sell $1.6 billion worth of shares in its Macau casino business to its joint venture partner, Melco International.
James Packer has a lot of questions he needs to answer regarding the arrests of his staff. The problem is that they are in jail awaiting likely charges and anything he says could possibly be used against them.
Israel – Has James Packer been bribing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?
It is alleged that James Packer has been bribing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family with the suggested pay-off for James Packer being residence or citizenship in Israel which journalists say would give him major tax benefits.
The below video is from the ABC’s 7.30 Report on the 31/1/17 and covers the allegations against James Packer bribing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As of the 12th March 2017 the Israeli authorities are still, trying to question Mr Packer.
Israeli police want to question Australian billionaire James Packer in connection with a corruption probe into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, local media has reported.
The Australian Federal Police said they were aware of the Israeli media reports concerning Mr Packer.
The ABC understands that Israeli police have been in contact with the AFP in regards to the corruption investigation against Mr Netanyahu.
The AFP told the ABC they did not discuss assistance requests from other countries, but that the agency “works closely with its international counterparts to investigate and prosecute allegations of corruption”.
Mr Netanyahu has been questioned four times by police in relation to the corruption probe and allegedly receiving inappropriate and undeclared gifts.
He has described Mr Packer as a “good friend”. (Click here to read more)
Australian Taxation Office and the New NSW Casino licence
To my knowledge, Crown Resorts are still being chased by the ATO to pay $362 million in tax which was reported in February 2016. No one should pay more tax than they are legally required but put the ATO issue together with Packer’s problems in Israel and it paints a picture that Packer sees avoiding tax as a major mission in life.
James Packer’s wretched pre-GFC foray into the US casino market has again come back to haunt him, with the Australian Taxation Office demanding Crown Resorts pay a $362 million tax bill relating to its failed Cannery casinos business. (Click here to read more)
And Crown were awarded a licence to build a second Casino in Sydney which has always had a cloud over it as there was never a tender process. The government and opposition just decided that James Packer could have what he wanted.
But with the arrests in China it could all change. Four Corners reported:
“Since the arrests of its staff, Crown has been in turmoil, its Chairman and chief executive have resigned and its principal shareholder James Packer has seen revenue from Chinese high rollers plunge, raising questions about the future of Crown’s new VIP casino at Barangaroo in Sydney.” (Click here to read more)
Class action by Crown Resorts shareholders
It was reported on the 3/2/17:
James Packer’s Crown Resorts is facing a potential class action from investors stemming from the imprisonment of its staff in China.
Law firm Maurice Blackburn will from Friday accept registrations from Crown Resorts shareholders interested in participating in the class action.
Crown Resorts shares slumped 14 per cent in a single day when it emerged 18 of its employees were detained in a police sting covering several Chinese cities targeting allegedly illegal marketing of gambling junkets.
Three of those arrested were Australians including Jason O’Connor who was the vice-president of international VIP operations.
The share slide wiped more than $1.3 billion from Crown’s market capitalisation, resulting in a $630 million paper loss for Mr Packer who owns a 48 per cent stake in the company with concerns centering on the future viability of Crown’s $1.2 billion Barangaroo.
The action will be funded by International Litigation Funding Partners and is expected to involve institutional investors many of whom exited the stock or reduced their holdings during the share price rout. (Click here to read more)
Mr Packers ethics and integrity seem to be sadly lacking and he is proof money doesn’t buy happiness. Most people with his wealth would be happy to live an honest life. James Packer is in a lot of trouble but not as much trouble as the 18 Crown Resorts staff members currently in jail in China.
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Categories: James Packer