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Billionaire James Packer resigns from Crown Resorts for 'personal reasons'

21 Марта 2018

James Packer and Mariah Carey arriving on the red carpet ahead of the opening ceremony of the Studio City casino resort in Macau in 2015.

James Packer, a colorful Australian billionaire who has found himself embroiled in a corruption scandal involving Israel's prime minister, has resigned as a director of Crown Resorts, the casino company that is a source of much of his wealth.

He had only rejoined Crown's board a year ago after the company exited its Macau and United States investments, and switched its focus back to Australia.

The Australia-listed company thanked Mr Packer, one of the nation's richest people, in a brief statement on Wednesday.

"We have appreciated James' contribution to the board and respect his decision to step down", Alexander said.

Packer's private investment vehicle, Consolidated Press Holdings, also released a statement on the sudden resignation. Within three years Packer sold the majority of the family's broadcasting and publishing stakes, for upwards of $5 billion, using the funds to build the stake in Crown Resorts. Back in the early 2000s, he revealed he made a decision to step out of public attention as he was dealing with a breakdown after the One-Tel collapse.

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No further details on the health issues experienced by Mr. Packer were given by the company.

In an interview with The Australian newspaper in October, 2017, the scion of media tycoon Kerry Packer acknowledged that he had always been shy and never liked the enormous amount of publicity he attracted. The acrimonious split was followed by the June 2017 arrest of 19 Crown employees by Chinese authorities for allegedly illegally promoting gambling, which according to an October 2017 interview with The Australian, shook Packer, who wasn't on the company's board at the time, to the core, reports Bloomberg.

It followed the jailing of 16 Crown employees in China for illegally promoting gambling.

Crown Resorts owns casinos in Australia and London.

In February, Packer was named a key figure in an investigation into corruption claims against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu over a series of expensive gifts given to him by wealthy global businessmen.

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Billionaire James Packer resigns from Crown Resorts for 'personal reasons'