As NSW gaming authorities conduct a probity check on James Packer ahead of his planned return to the Crown Resorts board, the news from overseas is not getting any better for the billionaire casino mogul.
An Israeli investigation into lavish gift giving to its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been extended as the police have been unable to interview key figures including Packer, according to reports from Israel.
Reports state the graft investigation, which was meant to be completed by now, will continue for another two months as some judicial inquiries abroad still haven’t been carried out. This includes setting a date to question the globe-trotting Packer.
Mr Packer declined to comment on the reports, and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing on his part.
The long-running investigation by Israeli authorities is into the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by Netanyahu’s family, and alleged benefactors such as Packer who have funded the acquisition of champagne, cigars, fine clothes and jewellery.
In the case of Packer, this reportedly includes luxury holidays and hotels for the PM’s family, as well as free tickets to concerts given by his then fiancee, Mariah Carey.
Israeli state employees and elected officials are forbidden from accepting gifts, but Mr Netanyahu has characterised the items in question as personal gifts from friends.
Packer has a home in Tel Aviv, which has the Netanyahu family as a neighbour – as well as long time Packer family friend, Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan.
“Spending time with Arnon and Prime Minister Netanyahu has been an amazing eye-opener for me and it reinforces how lucky we all are in ,” Packer told The Daily Telegraph in 2015.
According to earlier reports, Milchan recruited Packer to help fund the gift giving after tiring of the demands from the Netanyahu family.
The reports, from what has been a heavily leaked investigation, state that Netanyahu was questioned by police investigators for a fourth time, last week.
It comes on top of Packer’s China woes, with the ongoing detention of 14 Crown staff. The China crisis triggered a sweeping restructure of his gambling empire and a retreat to the safer shores of .
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