Too sick to remember: Under-fire James Packer says he was so unwell he can’t remember entire months – as he gives evidence over Crown casino’s failings days after bombshell allegations from ex Mariah Carey
- James Packer said he was very unwell from December 2015 and January 2016
- He couldn’t recall a plan to make him head of global strategy at Crown Resorts
- The billionaire said medication for bipolar disorder negatively affected memory
- Mr Packer couldn’t remember when he resigned as Crown Casino chairman
- He admitted to sending ‘shameful’ threatening emails to a mystery businessman
- Mr Packer blamed Crown Resorts executives for arrests of casino staff in China
- Crown staff were arrested for allegedly illegally promoting gambling in China
Billionaire James Packer has said he can’t remember entire months of his life because of medication linked to his bipolar disorder, an inquiry heard.
The 53-year-old made the claims as he appeared by video-link from his $200million luxury yacht moored in the South Pacific on the second day of an inquiry investigating Crown’s suitability to operate a new Sydney casino on Wednesday.
Mr Packer resigned as director of Crown Resorts in December 2015.
The counsel assisting, Adam Bell SC, asked Mr Packer about a proposal to appoint him as head of global strategy for the company in 2016.
But Mr Packer said he could not recall this proposal as he was particularly unwell from December 2015 to January 2016, according to The Australian.
Billionaire James Packer (pictured) said he was so unwell with bipolar disorder from December 2015 to January 2016 that he couldn’t remember a proposal to appoint him as head of global strategy for the Crown Resorts in 2016
The billionaire previously revealed he suffers from bipolar disorder and takes medication that negatively affects his memory.
He made the claims as he appeared by video-link for the first day of the inquiry on Tuesday.
Mr Packer admitted to sending ‘shameful’ threatening emails to a mystery businessman known only as ‘Mr X’ in November 2015.
Mr Bell then asked: ‘How can the NSW regulator have any confidence in your character or integrity in light of your communications in these emails?’
‘Because I’m being treated now for my bipolar,’ Mr Packer replied.
‘I was sick at the time.’
‘You accept that your conduct in these emails reflects adversely on your character, don’t you?’ Mr Bell asked.
‘My medical state is what it reflected most on,’ Mr Packer said.
Mariah Carey (pictured with Packer during their romance) has recently made a revelation about their relationship, saying it wasn’t ‘physical’
Mr Packer drinks a glass of water during Tuesday’s inquiry. The billionaire told the inquiry he resigned as chairman of Crown Resorts in December 2015 because he ‘wasn’t well’ and hoped his bipolar disorder would ‘stay a private matter’
The billionaire was also asked if he was a director of Crown Resorts at the time he wrote the emails to Mr X but Mr Packer said: ‘I can’t recall.’
Mr Bell pointed out Mr Packer resigned as a director of Crown Resorts on December 21, 2015, some weeks after these emails were sent, which the billionaire agreed with.
The billionaire earlier told the inquiry he resigned as chairman of Crown Resorts in December 2015 because he ‘wasn’t well’.
Mr Packer agreed an Australian Stock Exchange media release from December 2015 announcing his resignation should have mentioned the health problems which drove him to resign, but said he hoped it would ‘stay a private matter’.
In a written statement submitted in late September, Mr Packer said strong medication he was prescribed since 2016 to treat ‘significant health issues’ affected his ability to recall past events.
The revelations from Packer come just days after the publication of his ex-fiancee Mariah Carey’s new book (pictured together) – in which she failed to mention the businessman once
James Packer of Crown Resorts leaves after attending the Crown Resorts annual general meeting on October 26, 2017 in Melbourne
On the second day of the inquiry on Wednesday, Mr Packer blamed Crown Resorts executives for corporate failures which led to the arrest of staff in China.
Nineteen Crown staff were arrested in October 2016 over claims they had illegally promoted gambling in China.
More than a year before in June 2015, South Korean casino workers had been arrested in China for similar offences.
Mr Packer stepped down as Crown’s executive chairman in August 2015.
He told the inquiry on Wednesday morning that he asked Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie and Robert Rankin, who was then chief executive of Mr Packer’s investment company Consolidated Press Holdings and later succeeded Mr Packer as Crown’s chair, to be ‘on top of the issue’ of the risk of arbitrary action by Chinese authorities.
But Mr Packer repeatedly denied being told by either man about facts which might have raised alarm bells about the company’s China operations.
‘I believe Mr Rankin and Mr Craigie let me down,’ Mr Packer said.
The Crown Hotel and Casino in Melbourne. Mr Packer blamed Crown Resorts executives for corporate failures which led to the arrest of staff in China
He agreed the fact that the Crown board was not told the company’s staff in China were expressing fears for their safety was a failure of risk management processes.
Mr Packer said he accepted ‘not all, but some’ responsibility for the corporate governance issues.
He denied the cause was a profit-obsessed corporate culture, but could not provide an alternative explanation.
‘A lot of the things that I’ve seen or heard in this inquiry have been a total shock to me,’ he said, describing himself as ‘incredibly upset’ by the corporate culture the inquiry has exposed.
The casino mogul dialled in from his luxury yacht moored in the South Pacific, and occasionally appeared to face troubles with his internet connection. His answers to questions were mostly brief.
He faced questions about his character in Tuesday’s hearing, admitting to ‘disgraceful’ conduct, which he blamed on a bipolar disorder for which he is now being treated.
The inquiry report is expected in early 2021.
Mr Packer was on board his $200million yacht which is moored in the South Pacific when he appeared via video link on Tuesday and Wednesday for the Crown casino inquiry
The inquiry comes just after the release of singer Mariah Carey’s autobiography, which noticeably failed to mention her 18-month relationship with Packer.
The American star later revealed that she left her former fiancé out of her new memoir because they didn’t have a ‘physical’ relationship.
Years after rumours first circulated that the pair didn’t consummate their romance, the 50-year-old singing superstar told The Guardian that theirs was a relationship that ‘didn’t matter’.
When asked why the Australian billionaire didn’t make an appearance in The Meaning of Mariah Carey, the star said: ‘If it was a relationship that mattered, it’s in the book. If not, it didn’t occur… We didn’t have a physical relationship, to be honest with you.’
The inquiry comes after Mariah Carey revealed that she left former fiancé Packer (pictured, together) out of her new memoir because they didn’t have a ‘physical’ relationship