James Packer Resigns from Crown Resorts Due to ‘Mental Health Issues’

BILLIONAIRE James Packer is suffering from “mental health issues” and has abruptly resigned from his company Crown Resorts.

James Packer (pictured) has resigned as director of Crown Resorts for mental health reasons after a horror year
James Packer resigns from Crown Resorts

BILLIONAIRE James Packer has resigned as a director of his company Crown Resorts for “personal reasons”.

The company announced the move in a brief statement to the Australian Securities Exchange on Wednesday.

“We have appreciated James’ contribution to the Board and respect his decision to step down from his role as a director at this time,” executive chairman John Alexander said.

In a statement, a spokesman for Mr Packer’s private investment company Consolidated Press Holdings said, “Mr Packer is suffering from mental health issues. At this time he intends to step back from all commitments.”

It comes amid a tumultuous time for the casino mogul, who has been tied to a corruption scandal engulfing the Israeli prime minister.

Benjamin Netanyahu has been investigated for receiving lavish gifts from businessmen including Mr Packer. Israeli police last month recommended Mr Netanyahu be indicted in two cases of alleged corruption.

Mr Packer was among those mentioned in the case, although there was no suggestion of wrongdoing on his part.

Last year, Chinese authorities arrested 19 Crown employees in Shanghai for allegedly chasing high roller gamblers. Crown sold its interests in joint-venture casinos in Macau soon after and was fined $1.67 million by the Chinese government.

It is the second time Mr Packer has resigned from the board after he stepped down as a director of Crown in December 2015 to focus on development projects in Sydney, Melbourne and Las Vegas, and Crown’s online platforms.

Mr Packer returned to the board in January last year as part of one of several leadership changes following the company’s decision to exit Macau and focus on its Australian assets.

In December, Mr Packer sold more than $100 million worth of Crown shares to keep his stake in the company at around 47 per cent, according to a statement to the ASX earlier this month.

At the same time, it emerged Victoria’s gambling regulator had launched disciplinary proceedings over Crown’s trial of “blanking buttons” on its poker machines.

The Victorian Gambling Commission said Crown might have broken the law over the use of the buttons, which essentially reduce player options, over a three-week period between March and April last year.

Mariah Carey and James Packer in 2015. Picture: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Mariah Carey and James Packer in 2015. Picture: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The couple holidaying in Capri in 2016.

The couple holidaying in Capri in 2016.Source:Instagram

Crown said in a statement to the ASX that the matter related to 17 of the casino’s 2628 machines. “The Commission’s view is that the trial involved varying a gaming machine type and certain games in a manner that required the commission’s prior approval,” the company wrote,” it said.

“Crown Melbourne’s position is that the trial did not require prior approval, and therefore there has been no contravention of the (Gambling Regulation Act).”

Crown subsequently stressed that the “disciplinary proceedings” referred to by the Commission were “a reference to its prescribed administrative process” and that “no court proceedings have been issued against Crown Melbourne in relation to this matter”.

The son of late media mogul Kerry Packer, James Packer has an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion, ranking him among the top 10 wealthiest people in the country.

The Herald Sun reports Mr Packer is currently in the US while he deals with his mental health issues and it was unclear when he would return to Australia. He has previously spoken about his battle with depression, revealing in 2013 that movie star Tom Cruise helped him when he was at his “lowest”.

Last year, the 50-year-old opened up to The Australian about his whirlwind 18-month romance and engagement with 47-year-old pop star Mariah Carey, which ended in a messy breakup in October. Mr Packer, who paid the singer a settlement of somewhere between $6-13 million, described it as a “mistake”.

“I was at a low point in my personal life,” he said. “She was kind, exciting and fun. Mariah is a woman of substance. But it was a mistake for her and a mistake for me.

“Two years ago I was terrified. I had $2.3 billion of debt at CPH, over $3 billion of debt at Crown, I’d just appointed Rob [Rankin as chairman of Crown], Macau was falling over and [sister] Gretel was on my doorstep.

“Then, a year later, I’ve got China falling apart, the Australian casino businesses missing budgets by big amounts, I’ve got Mariah breaking up with me and I’m thinking, ‘F**k!’”

Mr Packer spent 10 years negotiating the settlement of his late father’s $1.25 billion will with his older sister Gretel. The process finalised in 2015, but caused a rift between the siblings.

“Stages of the negotiation with Gretel were difficult, but a framework for future resolution was achieved,” he told The Australian. “We have not spent a lot of time together. She is getting on with her life and I am doing the same.”

Retiring CEOs Landscape BANNER Headline


James Packer Steps Down as Crown Resorts Director for ‘Mental Health Reasons’ After a Horror Year for the Casino Mogul

  • James Packer has resigned as director of Crown Resorts, citing personal reasons
  • Consolidated Press Holdings spokesman said resignation due to mental health
  • Crown announced Mr Packer’s resignation in statement on Wednesday morning
  • Executive Chairman John Alexander said Board respects Mr Packer’s decision

James Packer has resigned as director of Crown Resorts, citing mental health issues.

Crown announced Mr Packer’s resignation on Wednesday with a statement from Executive Chairman John Alexander.

‘We have appreciated James’ contribution to the Board and respect his decision to step down from his role as a director at this time,’ Mr Alexander said.

James Packer (pictured) has resigned as director of Crown Resorts for mental health reasons after a horror year

James Packer (pictured) has resigned as director of Crown Resorts for mental health reasons after a horror year

Mr Packer (pictured, left) made headlines in recent years for his breakup with US singer Mariah Carey (pictured, right)

Mr Packer (pictured, left) made headlines in recent years for his breakup with US singer Mariah Carey (pictured, right)

Pictured is James Packer with a mystery woman  Sky Resort in Aspen Colorado last year

Pictured is James Packer with a mystery woman Sky Resort in Aspen Colorado last year

A Consolidated Press Holdings spokesperson confirmed the resignation was due to Mr Packer’s mental health, The Australian reported.

‘Mr Packer is suffering from mental health issues. At this time he intends to step back from all commitments,’ the spokesperson said.

James Packer, 50, has battled anxiety and depression for years, but Wednesday’s announcement is a rare public admission of his mental health struggles.

Dividing his time between homes in Aspen, Colorado, and Los Angeles in recent months, it is unclear whether Mr Packer is undergoing treatment.

The resignation comes less than a year after Mr Packer returned to the Crown board, having previously stepped down as chairman in August 2015.

He resigned as director four months after that, but returned to the board in July last year.

A Consolidated Press Holdings spokesperson confirmed the resignation was due to Mr Packer's mental health (pictured are Mr Packer and then-girlfriend Mariah Carey in 2016)

A Consolidated Press Holdings spokesperson confirmed the resignation was due to Mr Packer’s mental health (pictured are Mr Packer and then-girlfriend Mariah Carey in 2016)

Pictured is James Packer and his first wife Jodhi Meares in 2001 - the couple separated the next year

Pictured is James Packer and his first wife Jodhi Meares in 2001 – the couple separated the next year

Pictured is Mr Packer with his second wife Eric Baxter in 2008 - the pair separated in 2013

Pictured is Mr Packer with his second wife Eric Baxter in 2008 – the pair separated in 2013

In early March the casino and media mogul (pictured, right, on a yacht in Mexico) was mentioned in an Israeli police report alleging he presented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with lavish gifts 

In early March the casino and media mogul (pictured, right, on a yacht in Mexico) was mentioned in an Israeli police report alleging he presented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with lavish gifts

JAMES PACKER’S LIFE AND TIMES

1967: James Douglas Packer is born to Kerry and Ros Packer in Sydney

About 1985: Finishes school and works as a jackaroo in Northern Territory

1999: Marries first wife Jodhi Meares; the couple separates in 2002

2001: Telecommunications company One.Tel goes broke, costing Packer $300m

2005: Kerry Packer dies and James takes over family business

2006: Starts selling Channel 9 as he moves into casinos

2007: Marries model Erica Baxter; the couple separates in 2013

2012: Forms RatPac production company with producer Brett Ratner

2014: Has public street fight with then best friend David Gyngell

2016: Becomes engaged to singer Mariah Carey; couple separates later that year

2017: Sells out of RatPac

2018: Steps down from Crown Resorts board

Mr Packer, now ranked eighth-richest in Australia, has seen his wealth shrink to $4.1billion, according to Forbes.

In early March the casino and media mogul was mentioned in an Israeli police report alleging he presented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with lavish gifts.

Mr Packer became close to Mr Netanyahu in 2014 after introductions made by mutual friend Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer.

The Australian later purchased a home right next door to mr Netanyahu’s beachfront property in Caesarea.

Mr Packer also attended speeches delivered by Mr Netanyahu to the UN General Assembly in New York in 2015 and to US Congress as a special guest.

Pictured are James Packer and ex-wife Jodhi Meares arriving at a Sydney casino in 1999

Pictured are James Packer and ex-wife Jodhi Meares arriving at a Sydney casino in 1999

Pictured is James Packer attending a Davis Cup tennis match in Sydney with a friend in 1987

Pictured is James Packer attending a Davis Cup tennis match in Sydney with a friend in 1987

Pictured is James Packer with his father, Kerry Packer, Australia's richest man, in 2004

Pictured is James Packer with his father, Kerry Packer, Australia’s richest man, in 2004

The Australian Federal Police interviewed Mr Packer in connection to the Israeli corruption inquiry, but he is not suspected of any criminal conduct.

There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Mr Packer.

The billionaire was also in the headlines in recent years for his breakup with US singer Mariah Carey.

The pair were engaged in January 2016 but had split by the end of the year, and Packer paid the 47-year-old pop star a multi-million dollar settlement in 2017.

Mr Packer, the son of media tycoon Kerry Packer, has spoken out in the past about his battles with depression and dealing with the death of his father in 2005.

The resignation comes less than a year after Mr Packer (pictured, left, with Mariah Carey, middle and Julie Bishop, right) returned to the Crown board, having previously stepped down as chairman in August 2015

The resignation comes less than a year after Mr Packer (pictured, left, with Mariah Carey, middle and Julie Bishop, right) returned to the Crown board, having previously stepped down as chairman in August 2015

Mr Packer (pictured), the son of media tycoon Kerry Packer, has spoken out in the past about his battles with depression and dealing with the death of his father in 2005

Mr Packer (pictured), the son of media tycoon Kerry Packer, has spoken out in the past about his battles with depression and dealing with the death of his father in 2005

In 2013 he cited advice from Tom Cruise as being invaluable after telecom company One.Tel collapsed and his first marriage broke down in 2001.

‘I was depressed and emotionally exhausted, my marriage had broken up, I felt isolated, I felt like a failure . . . it was not a great time in my life,’ Mr Packer said.

‘When I was at my lowest, Tom Cruise reached out to me. He believed in me when other people didn’t.’

Mr Packer has also struggled with his weight and been heavy smoker. He was recently reported to be dating New York socialite and model Kylie Lim.

Consolidated Press Holdings, controlled by Mr Packer, had a 47.2 per cent in Crown Resorts, which owns Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth, at the end of February.

Crown Resorts, an ASX-listed company, is now developing a six-star hotel and casino called Crown Sydney in the city’s Barangaroo district.

Crown opted to concentrate on its Australian casinos last year, reducing its operations in Macau.

The decision came after 18 Crown employees were arrested in China in 2016 during a Chinese government crackdown on gambling-related money flowing overseas.

'We have appreciated James' contribution to the Board and respect his decision to step down from his role as a director at this time,' Mr Alexander  (pictured, right, with Mr Packer)

‘We have appreciated James’ contribution to the Board and respect his decision to step down from his role as a director at this time,’ Mr Alexander (pictured, right, with Mr Packer)


Bye Bye Bibi Movie Poster Devil Head

Israeli police ‘recommend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be charged with corruption and accepting bribes for US visas from Hollywood producer and media magnate’

  • Authorities believe he should be charged with corruption, including bribery 
  • Pressure had built on Netanyahu as police investigating him in the long-running probe prepared to submit their recommendations to the attorney general
  • He is accused of accepting gifts, including cigars, from wealthy supporters 
  • Attorney general is expected to take weeks or months to decide how to proceed 
Israeli police have recommended the country's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charge with corruption

Israeli police have recommended the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charge with corruption.

Israeli police have recommended the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charge with corruption.

For months, police have been investigating two cases against him. In one probe, Netanyahu reportedly received over $100,000 in gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and other wealthy supporters in return for 10-year US visas.

The other is over secret talks with the publisher of a major Israeli newspaper in which Netanyahu allegedly requested positive coverage in exchange for reining in a free pro-Netanyahu daily.

Authorities believe he should be charged with corruption in both cases, including bribery, according to local media reports.

Netanyahu insisted he will continue to lead Israel ‘responsibly and faithfully’. Tonight, he said the police accusations were baseless and that they will ‘end with nothing’.

Pressure had built on Netanyahu as police investigating him in the long-running probe prepared to submit their recommendations to the attorney general.

The attorney general is expected to take weeks or months to decide how to proceed.

Netanyahu posted a response on Facebook late last Wednesday in which he lashed out at the police commissioner, calling suggestions that he sent private investigators on such a mission ‘ridiculous’.

‘It is shocking to discover that the commissioner has repeated the mistaken and ridiculous suggestion that Prime Minister Netanyahu sent private investigators after the police who are investigating him,’ the post said.

He also referred to claims that sexual harassment allegations against the head of the unit investigating Netanyahu were an attempt to smear him because of the graft probe.

‘Any honest person would ask himself how people who say such delusional things about the prime minister can objectively investigate him and honestly give unbiased recommendations,’ the post said.

‘A large shadow was cast tonight over the police investigations and their recommendations related to Prime Minister Netanyahu.’

 Israeli PM Netanyahu responds to corruption allegations

Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has lashed out at police with detectives reportedly on the verge of recommending his indictment for taking bribes

Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has lashed out at police with detectives reportedly on the verge of recommending his indictment for taking bribes

For months, police have been investigating two cases against him. In one probe, Mr Netanyahu reportedly received over $100,000 in gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan (centre, with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Los Angeles) and other wealthy supporters in return for 10-year US visas

For months, police have been investigating two cases against him. In one probe, Mr Netanyahu reportedly received over $100,000 in gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan (centre, with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Los Angeles) and other wealthy supporters in return for 10-year US visas

Police were investigating Netanyahu over suspicions that he received expensive gifts, including pricey cigars, from wealthy supporters such as Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer (pictured)

Police were investigating Netanyahu over suspicions that he received expensive gifts, including pricey cigars, from wealthy supporters such as Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer (pictured)

The investigation has raised the possibility that Netanyahu, prime minister for a total of nearly 12 years, will eventually be forced to resign.

Police were investigating Netanyahu over suspicions that he received expensive gifts, including pricey cigars, from wealthy supporters such as Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.

His wife allegedly received bottles of pink champagne. The gifts were reportedly worth some tens of thousands of dollars.

They were also probing allegations that he sought a secret deal for favourable coverage with the publisher of top-selling newspaper Yediot Aharonot.


James Packer Takes a Smoke Break After Checking Into a $35,000-a-week U.s. Psychiatric Hospital to Deal With His Mental Health Problems

  • James Packer, 50, checked in to exclusive Boston mental health facility this week
  • He’ll spend two weeks at McLean Hospital’s The Pavilion for tests and treatment
  • The facility costs $5000 AUD a night, and includes luxuries on top of treatment 
  • Packer was seen looking pensive during a smoke break at the American hospital
  • Later, he was joined by a female friend who joined him for a walk around 
  • Packer has allegedly made multiple attempts to reconcile with his second wife
  • The casino tycoon asked ex-wife Erica to take him back – but she has refused
  • Packer stepped down as director of Crown Resorts, citing ‘mental health issues’ 

Casino mogul James Packer has been spotted on a solitary cigarette break after checking in to a $5000-a-night mental health facility in Boston.

Packer, 50, checked in to The Pavilion at McLaren Hospital on Thursday night, accompanied by his mother and friend Guy Jallan.

Dressed in a snow jacket, loose long pants and sneakers on Saturday, the former director of Crown Resorts was seen strolling before sitting on a bench to finish his cigarette.

Australian billionaire James Packer seen taiing a step outside in the cold to have a smoke break during his time at the psychiatric hospital where he checked into in Boston

Australian billionaire James Packer seen taiing a step outside in the cold to have a smoke break during his time at the psychiatric hospital where he checked into in Boston

Packer, 50, checked in to The Pavilion at McLaren Hospital on Thursday night, accompanied by his mother and friend Guy Jallan

Packer, 50, checked in to The Pavilion at McLaren Hospital on Thursday night, accompanied by his mother and friend Guy Jallan

Dressed in a snow jacket, loose long pants and sneakers on Saturday, the former director of Crown Resorts was seen strolling before sitting on a bench to finish his cigarette

Dressed in a snow jacket, loose long pants and sneakers on Saturday, the former director of Crown Resorts was seen strolling before sitting on a bench to finish his cigarette

He had a pensive look on his face as he moved through the snowy grounds of the top medical facility, ahead of a visit from a female friend.

The woman, described as a friend of the family, was dropped off at McLaren hospital and carried a large black bag with her.

She was seen speaking with Packer as they headed inside the building, the businessman leading the way as she tied up her hair.

Packer has received an outpouring of support from his friends and family, with mother Ros flying to Boston to be with him when he checked in to the psychiatric facility, and friends close by throughout the process.

Roslyn Packer exiting her hotel heading to visit James in his Boston psychiatric hospital

Roslyn Packer exiting her hotel heading to visit James in his Boston psychiatric hospital

Packer has received an outpouring of support from his friends and family, with mother Ros flying to Boston to be with him when he checked in to the psychiatric facility, and friends close by throughout the process

Packer has received an outpouring of support from his friends and family, with mother Ros flying to Boston to be with him when he checked in to the psychiatric facility, and friends close by throughout the process

On Wednesday, the business tycoon stepped down as director of Crown Resorts, citing 'mental health issues'

On Wednesday, the business tycoon stepped down as director of Crown Resorts, citing ‘mental health issues’

On Friday, Ros was seen heading out of her nearby hotel to spend time with her son at the hospital, indicating she will likely be staying close throughout his treatment.

Packer has reportedly been working on rebuilding his life, with reports claiming he had asked his ex-wife Erica to ‘take him back’ ahead of his admission to McLaren.

On Wednesday, the business tycoon stepped down as director of Crown Resorts, citing ‘mental health issues’.

On Thursday, he checked in to The Pavilion at Boston’s McLean Hospital, an 11-bed facility where the embattled business mogul will receive treatment.

The Pavilion charges $5000 a night for its exclusive 14-day program, The Daily Telegraph reported.

James Packer (pictured) checked into an exclusive mental health facility in Boston on Thursday night after sensationally quitting as director of Crown Resorts 

James Packer (pictured) checked into an exclusive mental health facility in Boston on Thursday night after sensationally quitting as director of Crown Resorts

Packer is also trying to reconcile with his second wife Erica, who mothered his three children

Packer is also trying to reconcile with his second wife Erica, who mothered his three children

Joined by his mother Ros and friend Guy Jallan, Packer checked in to The Pavilion, where he will undergo testing and treatment for $5000 AUD a night

Joined by his mother Ros and friend Guy Jallan, Packer checked in to The Pavilion, where he will undergo testing and treatment for $5000 AUD a night

James Packer spotted entering one of the buildings of a  psychiatric hospital in Boston, where he has checked in, with a friend who was seen being dropped off earlier in the day

James Packer spotted entering one of the buildings of a  psychiatric hospital in Boston, where he has checked in, with a friend who was seen being dropped off earlier in the day

McLean Hospital is considered the best mental health treatment centre in the United States, and Boston Globe journalist Alex Beam told the Telegraph the facility was ‘the real deal’, not a usual destination for celebrities putting up a front.

‘McLean is a medical facility and not a fake medical facility like some of these spas in Arizona. Harvey Weinstein would not fit in there,’ he explained.

‘It’s for people who can spare no expense. It’s not where you hide out from the paparazzi or avoid a judge.’

Sylvia Plath was a patient of McLean Hospital, as were musician Ray Charles and mathematician John Nash.

The pair are believed to remain on good terms, with the family spending time together in Aspen

The pair are believed to remain on good terms, with the family spending time together in Aspen

Ms Packer has reportedly declined to rekindle their romance after creating a stable life for her family in Los Angeles

Ms Packer has reportedly declined to rekindle their romance after creating a stable life for her family in Los Angeles

Standing by her man: Erica Packer, James' second wife and the mother of his three children, is understood to still be a pillar of support

Friends also allege Erica does not wish to expose her children - Indigo, 9, Jackson, 8, and Emmanuelle, 5 - to their father's 'seismic' mood swings

Friends also allege Erica does not wish to expose her children – Indigo, 9, Jackson, 8, and Emmanuelle, 5 – to their father’s ‘seismic’ mood swings

In addition to seeking help with his mental health, Packer is also believed to be seeking the support of his ex-wife, who mothered his three children.

The 50-year-old has made multiple attempts to reconcile with Erica Packer, who has turned him down, The Daily Telegraph earlier reported.

Packer is reportedly wanting to ‘turn back the clock’ by reuniting with his second wife in the hopes he can pick up the pieces the dark cloud of depression tore apart.

‘Turning back the clock five years might be what James wants but it won’t help Erica,’ a family friend told the publication

‘She has finally got her life together and has created a stable life in Los Angeles for her kids.’

Friends also allege Erica does not wish to expose her children – Indigo, 9, Jackson, 8, and Emmanuelle, 5 – to their father’s ‘seismic’ mood swings.

Erica’s snub is unsurprising after Packer left the model to pursue bachelorhood and to expand his casino empire.

‘He made friends only with people he believed could help him generate money and jettisoned everyone else. He became ruder, more poorly behaved than he had ever been before,’ a former friend alleges.

It is believed Packer has come to the belated realisation his ex-wife offered ‘support’ and ‘stability’ to his turbulent life in the public eye.

It is believed Packer has come to the belated realisation his ex-wife offered 'support' and 'stability' to his turbulent life in the public eye.

It is believed Packer has come to the belated realisation his ex-wife offered 'support' and 'stability' to his turbulent life in the public eye.

It is believed Packer has come to the belated realisation his ex-wife offered ‘support’ and ‘stability’ to his turbulent life in the public eye.

Despite rejecting her ex-husband's advances, Erica has long been a pillar of support for the casino tycoon

Despite rejecting her ex-husband’s advances, Erica has long been a pillar of support for the casino tycoon

They are often photographed together and appear to get along well as they co-parent their three children

They are often photographed together and appear to get along well as they co-parent their three children

Despite rejecting her ex-husband’s advances, Erica has long been a pillar of support for the casino tycoon.

They are often photographed together and appear to get along well as they co-parent their three children.

The 40-year-old brunette visited Packer in Aspen at Christmas as he holidayed with socialite Kylie Lim.

James has been unlucky in love, with his recent failed engagement to Mariah Carey reportedly costing him between $6 and $13 million.

He married his first wife Jodhi Meares in 1999 and the couple separated in 2002.

Packer made his mental health struggle public upon deciding to step down as director of his beloved casino business.

‘Mr Packer is suffering from mental health issues. At this time he intends to step back from all commitments,’ Mr Packer’s private ­investment vehicle CPH said in a statement.

Packer stepped down as director of Crown Resorts, citing 'mental health issues' (Crown pictured)

Packer stepped down as director of Crown Resorts, citing ‘mental health issues’ (Crown pictured)

James has been unlucky in love, with his recent failed engagement to Mariah Carey (pictured) reportedly costing him between $6 and $13 million 

James has been unlucky in love, with his recent failed engagement to Mariah Carey (pictured) reportedly costing him between $6 and $13 million

One of Australia’s richest people, with a personal fortune estimated at $4.1 billion, Packer announced on Wednesday he would ‘step back from all commitments’ indefinitely.

The only son of late media mogul Kerry then flew to Mexico following his shock resignation.

His mother Roslyn Packer, 80, was also seen getting off a direct flight from Sydney in Los Angeles.   


Evidence in James Packer’s Deposition to Australian Police Implicates Netanyahu in Corruption Scandal; Tens of Thousands Protest as Israeli PM Questioned 6th Time

SOURCE https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20171201-australian-billionaires-evidence-implicates-netanyahu-in-corruption-scandal/

December 1, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Israel Police were said to be pleased with Packer’s testimony, as it further cements the accusations against Netanyahu and his wife that the gifts were not given freely by friends, as the couple have alleged during questioning.

Australian businessman James Packer has confirmed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded gifts for himself and his wife in return for advancing Packer’s business interests, according to the Times of Israel.

The billionaire, who runs the Crown gaming empire and reportedly has a close relationship with Netanyahu, voluntarily attended an interview with the Australian Federal Police, after months of stalling, under the condition that his testimony would not be used against him, a police spokesman said today.

The questioning was the latest in a series of interviews conducted with prominent businessmen as part of an investigation into bribes allegedly received by the prime minister, dubbed Case 1000.

Israel Police were said to be pleased with Packer’s testimony, as it further cements the accusations against Netanyahu and his wife that the gifts were not given freely by friends, as the couple have alleged during questioning.

Israeli police have also questioned Packer’s business partner, Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan, over the affair, who has reportedly testified that the prime minister explicitly requested expensive cigars, again contradicting Netanyahu’s claims.

Netanyahu was grilled by police last week for the sixth time in connection to Case 1,000 and Case 2000, in which he faces allegations of negotiating a deal for more favourable media coverage with Arnon Mozes, publisher of popular Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. He has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Read: Corruption in Israel is not just an Israeli issue

The prime minister has also been questioned recently in regards to two other investigations: Case 3000, also known as the “submarine scandal”, albeit not as a suspect, and Case 4000, in which a close associate of Netanyahu is suspected of providing confidential information to Israel’s largest telecoms company.

This week, the Knesset added to the controversy when it passed, in a first vote, a law that would bar police from recommending whether charges should be filed against public officials. Critics have slammed the proposal as a transparent attempt to shield Netanyahu from further inquiry.

In response, Israeli police have temporarily stopped investigations into Netanyahu’s involvement in Case 2000 and 3000 to instead focus on the gift giving case before the bill comes into effect.

Netanyahu is not the first Israeli leader to face criminal investigation; former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of breach of trust and bribery in 2014, serving 16 months of a 27-month term, and Ariel Sharon was questioned while in office over allegations of bribery and campaign financing illegalities.

Israel frequently refers to itself as the “only democracy in the Middle East”, but this remains highly debateable as corruption scandals threaten to embroil the highest political authority in the country.


James Packer questioned by AFP over Israeli PM corruption investigation

The Guardian December 1, 2017

Crown Resorts major shareholder voluntarily presents himself to AFP as a witness for Israeli authorities’ investigation
Billionaire casino mogul James Packer.

Billionaire James Packer has been questioned by police in Australia over a corruption investigation involving Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is suspected of receiving luxury gifts from wealthy supporters.

The Australian mogul, who runs the Crown gaming empire and reportedly has a close relationship with Netanyahu, voluntarily attended an interview with the Australian federal police, a police spokesman said on Friday, without specifying when it took place.

“Mr Packer participated in the interview on a voluntary basis as a witness for an investigation being conducted by Israeli authorities,” the spokesman said.

Packer, who recently split up with American singer Mariah Carey, was not suspected of criminal conduct in either Israel or Australia, he added.

Netanyahu has so far been questioned six times over two alleged cases of corruption.

One of those whom he is accused of accepting gifts from is Israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, a Packer business partner who reportedly sent boxes of expensive cigars and other items worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Israeli media has said police were looking at whether Packer split the cost of gifts with Milchan.

The second affair over which Netanyahu has faced police questioning involves suspicions he sought a secret deal for favourable coverage with the publisher of top-selling Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.

Netanyahu has consistently denied any wrongdoing and says he has been the target of a campaign by political opponents.


Bye Bye Bibi Movie Poster Devil Head Poster Roster

FEBRUARY 2018

BYE-BYE BIBI: Israel’s Netanyahu Acknowledges That He Is Likely To Be Indicted Soon While He Lashes Out Against Israeli Police; The Rest Of The World Awaits Peace On Earth And Good Will To Mankind

Israel’s Netanyahu Acknowledges That He Is Likely to be Indicted Soon

FEB 08, 2018 | JERUSALEM

Israel's Netanyahu acknowledges that he is likely to be indicted soon

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained defiant Thursday in the face of reports — which he acknowledged — that police are expected to recommend his indictment for demanding and receiving gifts from businessmen, including cases of champagne and Cuban cigars, in exchange for personal favors.

Responding to numerous Israeli media reports, Netanyahu posted an angry video to his Facebook page agreeing that the recommendation he be indicted appears imminent.

“Many of you are asking — what will be [in the future]?” the prime minister said. “I want to reassure you, there will be nothing because I know the truth.”

Netanyahu laid out a case diminishing the importance of any police recommendations, and over the course of the day cast heavy aspersions on the team investigating him and, most harshly, against the nation’s police commissioner, Inspector General Roni Alsheikh.

“According to the law, the only person qualified to determine whether there is evidence against the prime minister is the attorney general,” Netanyahu said in the video, “and he discusses the matter with the state attorney…. The state of Israel is a state of law, and the law in Israel says that the person to determine whether there is alleged evidence against the prime minister is the attorney general, and he consults with the state attorney.”

On Facebook, Netanyahu, who is known by the nickname Bibi, insisted he wasn’t concerned. “No worries,” he said sarcastically. “There will be [police] recommendations, there will also be posters saying ‘Bibi is guilty until proven otherwise,’ and there will be inappropriate pressure, too. But I’m sure that at the end of the day the legal authorities will arrive at one conclusion, at the simple truth: There is nothing.”

The police report is expected by Tuesday. Netanyahu is a criminal suspect in two corruption cases.

Sara Netanyahu, shown in a May 21, 2017, photo, is accused, along with her husband, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of inappropriately accepting expensive gifts.
Sara Netanyahu, shown in a May 21, 2017, photo, is accused, along with her husband, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of inappropriately accepting expensive gifts. (Abir Sultan / Associated Press)

According to Israeli media reports, the police team investigating Netanyahu, nominally headed by Alsheikh, has concluded that Netanyahu should be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in “Case 1000,” which involves the allegations that Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, inappropriately accepted expensive gifts.

One of the businessmen is believed to be Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, an Israeli citizen for whom Netanyahu reportedly pressured then-Secretary of State John F. Kerry for a green card.

The police have reportedly not made a firm recommendation regarding “Case 2000,” in which Netanyahu is also suspected of having negotiated a quid pro quo with the publisher of Israel’s most widely distributed tabloid newspaper. According to recordings held by the police, Netanyahu negotiated for favorable coverage in exchange for a law that would have weakened Israel Hayom, a free daily owned by Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Netanyahu is a central figure, but not a suspect, in “Case 3000,” a police inquiry into Israel’s questionable multibillion-dollar procurement of German-made naval vessels and submarines. Numerous close associates, including senior aides and his personal lawyer and cousin, have been questioned or arrested.

In a rare television appearance, Alsheikh, the police chief, said that his senior detectives had been pursued by “private investigators collecting information against police officers involved in ongoing investigations into the prime minister.”

“We’re not talking about a conspiratorial mind here,” Alsheikh said, “these are facts.” He said the private investigators had been hired by “powerful figures.”

In response, the prime minister uploaded a Facebook post denouncing the police chief, who is a Netanyahu appointee. Netanyahu said he was shocked by the “outlandish and false claim,” adding that “every decent person will ask himself how can people saying such outlandish things regarding the prime minister then question him objectively and be impartial when it is time to reach a decision about him?”

“A dark shadow has been cast over the police investigations and recommendations,” Netanyahu added, calling for “an immediate and objective inquiry into the matter.”

A close Netanyahu ally, governing coalition Chairman David Amsalem, called Alsheikh “smug and full of himself” and said the criminal investigations amounted to “an attempted coup by the police. They see the prime minister as a personal enemy and are trying to topple him.”

Gideon Rahat, a Hebrew University professor of political science and an expert on Israeli politics, said in an interview that “Netanyahu’s attacks resemble President Trump’s against the FBI and [former Italian Prime Minister] Silvio Berlusconi’s against the magistrates who investigated him.”

Rahat said this sort of condemnation of the police hadn’t been seen in Israel since the late 1990s, when Aryeh Deri, who is now the interior minister, was facing trial on corruption charges. He eventually served three years behind bars.

“Of course Rabin resigned over much less,” Rahat said. In 1977, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin resigned when his wife was discovered to have an American bank account, which at the time was not permitted under Israeli law.

Ehud Olmert became Israel’s first former prime minister to serve a term in jail when he was convicted in 2014 of fraud and bribery in a real estate case. He served 16 months of a 27-month sentence.

Netanyahu aides recently implied that he is likely to do what none of his predecessors has done: Remain in office even if indicted. Noting that Netanyahu is unlikely to resign “after what happened to Olmert,” Rahat said that “by law, he can remain prime minister until he is convicted of a crime, and even then parliament has to vote him out.”
Such a circumstance, he added, would cause an unprecedented legal crisis in Israel.


FEBRUARY 2018

Netanyahu Lashes Out at Israeli Police Chief Amid Reports Detectives Will Recommend He Is Charged With Corruption

Police are reportedly expected to recommend next week that Mr Netanyahu face corruption charges
Police are reportedly expected to recommend next week that Mr Netanyahu face corruption charges CREDIT: DARIO PIGNATELLI/BLOOMBERG

As the reports emerged, Israel’s police chief, Roni Alseich, went on television and said “very powerful forces” had sent private investigators to “sniff around” in the private lives of detectives investigating the corruption cases.

He did not directly accuse Mr Netanyahu nor did he give details of the claim.

Shortly before midnight on Wednesday, Mr Netanyahu’s office published a searing Facebook post questioning whether the police chief and his force could be trusted to carry out an objective investigation.

Sara Netanyahu has been questioned by police several times
Both Mr Netanyahu and his wife Sara have been questioned by police several times CREDIT: MICHAL FATTAL/LIKUD VIA GETTY IMAGES

“It is shocking to discover that the commissioner repeats the false suggestion that Prime Minister Netanyahu has sent private investigators against police officers who are interrogating him,” the post said.

“A great shadow was cast this evening on the police investigations and recommendations in the case of Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

One of Mr Netanyahu’s chief political allies continued the attack on the objectivity of police on Thursday, accusing them of a political plot to bring down the prime minister.

“They see that the prime minister cannot be brought down at the ballot box so they try to bring him down through the Israel Police,” said David Ansalem, Mr Netanyahu’s chief whip.

Yair Lapid, the leader of a centrist opposition party, called Mr Netanyahu’s attack “a desperate act” by a man “who decided to take advantage of his high status in order to threaten the rule of law and to cast blame on the police”.

Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, is a possible replacement for Mr Netanyahu if there are elections

Mr Netanyahu’s allies and enemies have waited for months to learn the outcome of the multiple police investigations into the prime minister.

“The sand in the hourglass is running out. Even if it has taken time, the end is nigh. Next week it’s going to happen,” said Sima Kadmon, a commentator with the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Mr Netanyahu faces a two-step process. First detectives will decide whether or not to make a recommendation that he should be charged. Prosecutors will then decide whether to move forward with an indictment.

Mr Netanyahu has consistently denied any wrongdoing and insisted he will not resign in the face of the police investigations. But his position may become untenable if he is actually charged with a crime.

Opposition parties are likely to call for his resignation and rivals within Mr Netanyahu’s own Likud party may also leap at the chance to unseat a prime minister who has held power for nearly 11 years.


DECEMBER 2017

BYE-BYE BIBI: Israel Braces For “Earth Shattering” Indictments Against Netanyahu; the Rest of the World Waits for Peace on Earth and Good Will to Mankind

Tyler Durden's picture
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

 Chorev, who resigned last month under pressure from Netanyahu’s allies, told The Jerusalem Post “When they [the recommendations] will be announced, they will have information such as the specific charges and a complete list of the people involved,” he said, adding “Netanyahu is not running a campaign for his innocence but a campaign to keep the coalition intact. It is a political campaign, not a legal one, and so far he is succeeding. He is keeping his coalition in one piece despite very complicated investigations.”

The indictment recommendations will bear “a lot of information that we didn’t know – and it will cause an earthquake here.”

15622629_10157950076990504_4104148690967759179_n

While police recommendations in Israel aren’t binding, and prosecutors can choose to proceed with indictments, an official recommendation to indict would turn Israel’s political landscape on its head. Netanyahu has been questioned seven times by investigators in connection with two corruption cases.

In the first, he’s suspected of receiving tens of thousands of dollars worth of cigars and champagne from wealthy friends. In the other case, Netanyahu is accused of offering to pass legislation favorable to a newspaper publisher in exchange for favorable coverage, however the bill never passed. Another case involving bribery related to the purchase of submarines from Germany does not involve Netanyahu, however at least two of his confidants are under investigation for suspicion of wrongdoing.

15541878_10210502499414665_7993243328226157626_n

Israel police claims that Chorev, as an external investigator, wouldn’t have access to information on the Netanyahu investigation:

 “In these sensitive subjects, the Israel Police is providing information to the public via official statements that are released in accordance with the attorney-general and the state’s attorney,” the police said. “We are asking the public to focus only on official statement… Not once was the police blamed for leaking information by ‘different entities,’ but what they said was completely false.”

24991179_554984631547168_1701516227262359498_n

In response to the police wrap-up, Netanyahu’s allies in parliament are pushing through a bill that would forbid police from submitting written recommendations to the state prosecutor’s office on whether to indict a suspect – in what critics are calling a tool to silence investigators and interfere with police work.

 “It’s ludicrous legislation because there’s no precedent for legislating those two complementing law enforcement agencies,” said Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute research center, referring to police and prosecutors. “There’s no logic to it unless one wants to create some sort of deterrence vis-a-vis the police.” –Bloomberg

Relations between Netanyahu and police have grown sour throughout the investigations, nearly a year after they became public knowledge. As Bloomberg reports, the prime minister and his supporters have accused police of deliberately leaking information about the investigations to Israeli media, claiming he’s the target of an organized campaign by the press and left-wing opponents to unseat him. Thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets in recent weekends, rallying against government corruption and calling on Netanyahu to step down.

Sara Netanyahu

Related image

Meanwhile, Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, is mired in three legal disputes; two involving the receipt of illegal gifts and favors from businessmen in exchange for advancing their interests. In another case, Mrs. Netanyahu is accused of fraudulently receiving some $100,000 for her participation in a scam to order meals at Israel’s expense without authorization.
 According to a Justice Ministry announcement, between 2010 and 2013, Sara Netanyahu colluded with Seidoff “to create a false impression that the prime minister’s official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem does not employ a cook, despite the fact that throughout the entire period they employed cooks.” This was done, allegedly, to bypass a procedure that forbids ordering meals from restaurants and hiring chefs who cook at the residence when cooks are on hand. –Jewishpress.com

In a third case, 24 year old Shira Raban claims that Netanyahu incessantly insulted her while she worked for a cleaner at their residence for one month. Raban is seeking $64,000 for “verbal abuse and unreasonable requests” by Sara Netanyahu, and says she feared for her safety. Netanyahu allegedly forbade Raban from eating, drinking or resting, and required that she change her clothes dozens of times per day. Raban claims she was also required to wash her hands about 100 times a day with hot water, drying them on a separate towel from the Netanyahu family. 

Several other former employees have claimed mistreatment by Sara Netanyahu, with one caretaker receiving an award of around $43,000 last year for mistreatment.


SOURCE REUTERS https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-netanyahu-protests/tens-of-thousands-of-israelis-protest-against-netanyahu-corruption-idUSKBN1DW0Q8?il=0

DECEMBER 2017

Tens of Thousands of Israelis Protest Against Netanyahu, Corruption

Protest Netanyahu 20,000

December 2, 2017

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – About 20,000 Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday against government corruption and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is under criminal investigation over allegations of abuse of office.

The demonstration was by far the largest of weekly anti-corruption protests sparked by corruption allegations against Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing.

The four-term leader is suspected of involvement in two cases. The first involves receiving gifts from wealthy businessmen and the second involves negotiating a deal with a newspaper owner for better coverage in return for curbs on a rival daily.

Saturday’s protest was prompted by a draft law expected to be ratified by parliament next week, which would bar police from publishing its findings in two investigations of Netanyahu.

A Reuters cameraman and Israeli media put the number of demonstrators at about 20,000. Police would not provide an official estimate.

Critics say the draft law is a blatant attempt to protect Netanyahu and keep the public in the dark about his investigation. Supporters of the legislation say it is meant to protect suspects’ rights.

Netanyahu has said he has no interest in promoting personal legislation but he has not ordered its two sponsors, close confidants in his Likud party, to withdraw the bill.

Netanyahu has described himself as a victim of a political witch hunt and said of the cases against him: “There will be nothing because there is nothing.”

If charged, he would come under heavy pressure to resign or could call an election to test whether he still had a mandate.

Bye Bye Bibi Movie Poster Devil Head

Advertisements