James Packer admits he ‘should have RESIGNED’ from Crown in rare sighting

BREAKING NEWS: Rare sighting of billionaire James Packer as he admits he ‘should have RESIGNED’ from Crown board from undisclosed location

  • James Packer has admitted he should have resigned from company’s board
  • Told commission he did not attend any Burswood Ltd meetings in three years

Billionaire James Packer has admitted there were ‘many oversights’ during his time overseeing Crown’s Perth casino operations during a rare public sighting from an unknown location. 

Mr Packer made the admission on Friday while appearing via videolink before a West Australian royal commission examining Crown’s suitability to retain its Perth casino licence.  

A former Crown Resorts director, and still the company’s major shareholder, Mr Packer also chaired Burswood Limited – a subsidiary of Crown primarily responsible for the running of the Perth casino – between 2004 and 2016. 

He also told the probe he should have quit the company’s board – having not attended any of Burswood’s meetings during his final three years as chairman.

Billionaire James Packer has admitted there were 'many oversights' during his time overseeing Crown's Perth casino operations during a rare public sighting

Billionaire James Packer has admitted there were ‘many oversights’ during his time overseeing Crown’s Perth casino operations during a rare public sighting

The inquiry heard the Burswood board reported to that of Crown Resorts and the majority of its directors were also Crown executives.

Mr Packer accepted the arrangement effectively left Crown overseeing itself and in hindsight there should have been a majority of independent directors on the Burswood board.  

Counsel assisting the commission Patricia Cahill SC asked Mr Packer whether there had been anyone appointed to the board during his time as chair who had anti-money laundering or financial crime risk experience. 

‘I don’t believe there was,’ he replied. ‘Looking back there are many oversights, things that should have been done differently. I did not believe at that point in time that Crown Perth was engaged in money laundering.’ 

Mr Packer’s rare public appearance from an undisclosed location came days after Crown was castigated by a Victorian inquiry for ‘illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative’ behaviour. 

But the royal commission, headed by former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein QC, stopped short of recommending Crown should lose its Melbourne casino licence.

Instead, it was recommended Crown continue operating under the oversight of a special manager for two years while it undertakes comprehensive reforms.

The WA inquiry is due to deliver its final report in March 2022. 

Earlier this year, the NSW Bergin report found Crown had ‘enabled or facilitated’ money laundering at its Perth casino through an account linked to a shell company, Riverbank Investments. 

WA’s inquiry has heard the state’s Gaming and Wagering Commission opted not to investigate allegations of money laundering against Crown after the company’s ‘persuasive’ former legal boss told them it was a media beat-up. 

Evidence has previously been heard about Mr Packer’s links to former Crown director and Perth investment banker John Poynton. 

Mr Poynton replaced Mr Packer on Crown’s board in 2018 as a nominee of the billionaire’s company Consolidated Press Holdings. 

The royal commission has heard Mr Poynton had signed a consultancy agreement with CPH for which he received a $50,000 annual fee. 

It included a clause that he disclose confidential information relating to Crown Resorts ‘on demand’. 

Mr Poynton has testified he never provided confidential information to Mr Packer or CPH. 

He resigned in February as a non-executive Crown director and chair of Burswood Limited. 

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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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