Rebecca Le MayVideoImageBillionaire businessman and investor James Packer has this week topped off a decade of misfortunes with a crushing blow to what was once ‘the jewel in his crown.’.Billionaire businessman and investor James Packer has this week topped off a decade of misfortunes with a crushing blow to what was once ‘the jewel in his crown.’James Packer was spared a lot of personal criticism in Crown’s money laundering inquiry findings, but his influence over the casino giant “had rather disastrous consequences”.The reclusive billionaire private investment vehicle Consolidated Press Holdings is the gambling company biggest shareholder with a 36.8 per cent stake and has yielded great clout over the board, management and operations.That is expected to have ceased with the swift departure of all three CPH nominees from the Crown board the day after a near year long inquiry by the NSW gaming regulator handed down damning findings about organised crime linked money laundering at its Perth and Melbourne casinos.The scandal has already led to the planned December opening of Crown new $2.2bn venue at Barangaroo in Sydney to be put on hold, with the inquiry recommending the gaming licence be revoked in light of the bombshell revelations.For Mr Packer who got special briefings on an almost daily basis under a shareholder protocol that has now been axed there a chance he will have to reduce his interest.Mr Packer with director Andrew Demetriou (right), who gave a ‘quite bizarre performance’ at the inquiry, and executive vice president strategy and development Todd Nisbet. Picture: Aaron Francis/The AustralianSource:News Corp AustraliaAmong her many recommendations, inquiry commissioner Patricia Bergin suggested preventing an entity from acquiring, holding or transferring an interest of 10 per cent or more in a casino licensee without the prior approval of a new dedicated regulator, which would have the powers of a royal commission.But the former judge was rather sparing when it came to personally criticising Mr Packer, who gave testimony to the inquiry, remotely via video link, revealing he suffers from bipolar disorder.The inquiry report said it was clear his influence his capacity to remotely manoeuvre aspects of Crown operations despite quitting the board in 2018 both through his own direct communications and by inserting Michael Johnston in managerial positions to assist him obviously well intentioned, had rather disastrous consequences for the company inquiry heard Mr Packer was the driving force behind the push to secure more of the high roller market with a particularly shocking consequence of that being the arrest of 19 employees in China in 2016 as the nation cracked down on gambling, which is illegal on the mainland.Will Crown Sydney at Barangaroo become a white elephant for the company? Picture: David SwiftSource:News Corp Australiacorporate needs of Crown were not given precedence over the corporate needs or desires of CPH, the report read.is obvious that the real power was exercised by Mr Packer both by reason of his personality and also the somewhat supine attitude adopted by Crown operatives. Effects of that combination permeated Crown operations in China and its junket operator choices, the report read.It also permeated the ill fated sale of some of CPH stake in Crown to Hong Kong gaming giant Melco which has links to the late Stanley Ho, who allegedly had underworld connections and total blackout of information relating to two bank accounts the ill gotten money percolated through.The report said Mr Packer not turn his mind to the prospect Mr Ho had an interest in Melco, with the inquiry hearing he was insistent the deal go through.Mr Packer was given special briefings on an almost daily basis.


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