James Packer Testifies Prior to Royal Commission from Undisclosed Location
In a remote hearing that featured video testimony and spanned the day Friday from about 06:30 till 15:30, Australian billionaire James Packer told commissioners that he did not attend any board meetings of the firm that oversaw Crown Perth between 2013 and 2016 – even although he was Chairman of the Board at Burswood Limited for the duration of that time.
Packer was offered for testimony from an undisclosed place until about 10:00.
The period of time between 2013 and 2016 is of special interest to the Commission as nicely as the Attorney Basic of Western Australia considering that it coincides with the alleged laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars via two companies Riverbank Investments and Southbank, into accounts of Crown‘s casinos.
The hearing follows an inquiry from Commissioner Patricia Bergin earlier this year that states the two investment businesses had been “infiltrated and exploited by criminal elements, possibly including international criminal organisations” starting as early as 2014.
Packer is the former director at Crown Resorts, obtaining resigned in 2018. He is nonetheless the company’s majority shareholder and also chaired the Crown subsidiary, Burswood which oversaw the Perth casino’s operations from 2004 until 2016.
Packer says he ‘Should Have Resigned’
Following admitting to Commissioners that Burswood “suffered” without an engaged chairman for three years, Packer told them: “There is no doubt I must have attended or resigned… I did neither”.
Further questioning addressed a time in 2014 that ANZ shut down the accounts of Riverbank Investments due to suspicions of money laundering.
Right after several objections from Packer’s counsel, Commissioner Patricia Cahill sooner or later posed a question about “keeping an eye on” Burswood for the duration of that time, to which Packer replied: “Effectively, I was maintaining an eye on Burswood Limited, either — I — I, accept — I accept that I ought to have resigned or attend I accept that fully. I do not accept that I did not keep on prime of what was happening at Burswood Restricted.”
Packer also stated that he didn’t think anybody on the Burswood board had any economic crime risk or anti-funds laundering experience, but that he also didn’t think that funds laundering had occurred, stating: “Searching back there are numerous oversights, issues that must have been completed differently. I did not think at that point in time that Crown Perth was engaged in cash laundering.”
Crown has been below rising scrutiny with a Victorian inquiry suggesting that Crown had been involved in “illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative” activities or behavior.
According to numerous media reports, the WA Commission is anticipated to provide a final report on the matter in early 2022.
Machines Spin Quicker in Melbourne
Yet another item of interest that emerged in the video interview with Packer making a rare public look from an undisclosed place follows:
COMMISSIONER JENKINS: What do you comprehend as the difference between
the electronic gaming machines at every of the properties that types the basis for that
view you expressed?
MR PACKER: I feel the wheels spin quicker in Melbourne, and that may possibly be the
COMMISSIONER JENKINS: Thank you for that.
MR PACKER: I was just going to say, which implies that a machine in Melbourne
may produce a lot more revenue per day than a machine in Perth, even if they are each
Perth Casino Royal Commission Hearing Day 51, Australian Government, October 29, 2021