SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian billionaire James Packer said on Wednesday he “forgot” his casino firm Crown Resorts Ltd
was banned from dealing with associates of Hong Kong’s Stanley Ho when he orchestrated a part-buyout by a firm controlled by Ho’s son.
Packer’s actions as Crown’s largest shareholder are being scrutinised as the New South Wales state government holds an inquiry to decide if the company should be allowed to go ahead with its A$2.2 billion ($1.6 billion) casino tower in Sydney just months before its scheduled opening.
Under questioning, Packer acknowledged the company he founded agreed not to give Hong Kong casino magnate Ho or his associates any beneficial interest in Crown Resorts when it obtained clearance in 2014 to build the 75-floor tower.
However, Packer announced a sale last year of one-fifth of Crown to Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd
, a company run by Ho’s son Lawrence. On