Crown inquiry LIVE updates: James Packer grilled over casino scandals



  • Inquiry is investigating probity issues at casino giant Crown Resorts 
  • Commissioner Patricia Bergin will report on whether Crown is fit to keep the licence for its new casino at Sydney’s Barangaroo
  • James Packer, who owns 36 per cent of Crown, has admitted he sent “shameful” and “disgraceful” emails threatening a businessman looking to make a privatisation offer for the casino group
  • Other issues raised at the inquiry include Crown going into business with figures linked organised crime, money laundering at its Melbourne and Perth casinos, and the arrest of 19 staff in China in 2016

Latest updates

Gangster-linked junkets, money laundering on the cards today

By Patrick Hatch

We don’t know for sure what the inquiry will look at today (and we learnt from Tuesday to expect the unexpected).

But a major focus of the inquiry which has not been raised with Packer is Crown’s partnerships with high-roller “junket” tour operators involved with organised crime, and Crown’s inability to stop money laundering at its Melbourne and Perth casinos.

You may remember The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes blew the lid off these issues in a series of reports last year, triggering this unprecedented inquiry.

These issues go to the heart of what Commissioner Patricia Bergin is weighing up: is Crown capable of keeping its new casino in Sydney (due to open in December) free from criminal influence or exploitation? If the answer is no, Crown could lose its casino licence.

‘Packer still the king of Crown’

By Patrick Hatch

A good chunk of yesterday focused on just how much influence Packer has had over the running of Crown after he stood down from the company’s board in 2018. He currently owns 36 per cent of the company but has not official role.

Our business columnist Elizabeth Knight has dug into this point in today’s papers, describing yesterday’s evidence as a “terrifying” display of corporate dysfunction.

The picture painted so far shows standard corporate risk and compliance functions taking a back seat at Crown. Indeed evidence heard during the inquiry suggests a governance structure more akin to a fiefdom.

The inquisition of Packer, at its heart, goes to assessing his fitness to be associated with a casino licence holder. In doing so counsel assisting is endeavouring to understand the extent to which Packer calls the shots.

Welcome back to the James Packer show

By Patrick Hatch

Good morning, and welcome to our live blog of the third day of James Packer’s appearance at the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s public inquiry into Crown Resorts.

In the first two days of evidence the reclusive billionaire has been grilled over his personal behaviour while he was chairman and a director at Crown, which including sending threatening emails to a Melbourne businessman, and what he knew about the danger Crown exposed its staff to in China.

Packer will resuming giving evidence at 10am from his $200 million super-yacht, which is moored somewhere in the South Pacific.

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