Billionaire James Packer will beam in to an inquiry probing alleged organised crime links to Crown Casino while aboard his $200m yacht.
Billionaire James Packer will beam in to an inquiry probing alleged organised crime links to Crown Casino while aboard his $200m yacht.

Packer to face grilling aboard luxury yacht

Billionaire James Packer is set to appear in front of an inquiry probing Crown Casino from the comfort of his near $280 million yacht, which now touring the South Pacific.

The gaming mogul is scheduled to appear in front of a New South Wales independent Liquor and Gaming Authority inquiry on Tuesday, which is determining whether Crown Casino's $2.4 billion Barangaroo project should be granted a gaming licence.

According to public ship tracking information, the billionaire's mega-yacht, known as IJE, is moored at the Port of Papeete in Tahiti.

It is understood Mr Packer will appear at the inquiry via video from his boat on Tuesday afternoon, Sydney time.

Built by Italian yacht maker Benetti, Mr Packer's 108m luxury liner sleeps up to 22 guests and is able to make cross-ocean voyages.

James Packer’s multimillion-dollar yacht, IJE. Picture: Ella Pellegrini
James Packer’s multimillion-dollar yacht, IJE. Picture: Ella Pellegrini

Investigations into Crown's Sydney development by the state's gaming body were sparked allegations of money-laundering, gambling law breaches and junket partnerships linked to organised crime.

The probe has also been instigated by the failed sale of Mr Packer's 35 per cent stake in Crown Resorts, which he attempted to offload to Macau casino group Melco Resorts.

In the past week, top Crown executives and the inner circle of Packer's entourage have been questioned by Commissioner Patricia Bergin over their knowledge of the alleged legal breaches.

Crown's junket partner, Suncity, has alleged links to organised crime syndicates. The large Hong Kong based company is responsible for bringing high-roller Chinese gamblers to Australia on casino orientated trips.

Crown Casino is being investigated for alleged money laundering breaches. Picture: AAP/Michael Dodge
Crown Casino is being investigated for alleged money laundering breaches. Picture: AAP/Michael Dodge

Austrac, the financial crimes watchdog has been investigating the junket operator for money laundering crimes.

The inquiry heard large deposits of cash were being deposited at the cash desk within the dedicated Suncity room.

Guy Jalland, the chief executive of Mr Packer's private company, Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH), reaffirmed his position on Wednesday that Suncity remained an acceptable junket operator.

Crown has suspended its dealings with junket operators until June next year.

"We have an eight-month window to do a lot of work on the junkets we propose that may want to do business with Crown," Mr Jalland said.

"We've got to do a lot of work as to where … we draw the line in terms of data and due diligence that we will accept (to) disqualify someone."

The inquiry has also heard from Crown's chief executive Kenneth Barton and CPH's finance director Michael Johnston.

Originally published as Packer to face grilling aboard luxury yacht