Australian mogul Packer faces $500 fine over brawl

One of Australia`s richest men, billionaire James Packer, faced a fine Friday of Aus$500 (around US$470) along with television executive David Gyngell over an ugly street brawl between the corporate heavyweights.

AFP| Last Updated: May 09, 2014, 11:26 AM IST

Sydney: One of Australia`s richest men, billionaire James Packer, faced a fine Friday of Aus$500 (around US$470) along with television executive David Gyngell over an ugly street brawl between the corporate heavyweights.

New South Wales state police issued two infringement notices over the dramatic tussle at Bondi Beach on Sunday that left Packer, 46, with a black eye.

"Police today issued a 46-year-old man and a 48-year-old man with a Criminal Infringement Notice for offensive behaviour," police said in a statement.
"The penalty notice carries a fine of $500 if it goes uncontested by the recipient."

Gyngell, the boss of Australia`s Nine Network, admitted earlier this week that he started the fight with the casino mogul, who is a childhood friend.

A Nine spokesman told Australian Associated Press that Gyngell would pay the fine.

A photographer who had been hoping to see Packer with rumoured new love interest, model Miranda Kerr, captured the two men trading punches and wrestling on the ground outside the magnate`s multi-million dollar Bondi waterfront home.
Images of the tussle, Gyngell shoeless and unshaven and Packer dressed in sweat pants and t-shirt, were snapped up by Rupert Murdoch`s News Corp. for a reported Aus$250,000 and splashed across the group`s newspapers.

The tabloid Sydney Daily Telegraph devoted nine pages to the scandal in one edition, as police opened investigations into the brawl, which was eventually broken up by Packer`s driver and two others.

Reports said Packer and Gyngell fell out after the billionaire split with wife Erica six months ago. Gyngell, who was best man at the wedding, reportedly told his friend he had made a mistake, which Packer did not appreciate.

The issue escalated when Packer complained about a Nine Network news van parked near his home, which he thought would attempt to film him.

Gyngell said the truck being there was a coincidence but the fight broke out when he went to check.

The television executive accepted responsibility for starting the punch-up.

"Clearly had he not turned up at Packer`s premises in an angry mood, then the confrontation would never have occurred," Nine said in a statement.

The son of late media baron Kerry Packer, James Packer is one of Australia`s wealthiest people with a personal fortune estimated at Aus$6 billion (US$5.6 billion). The family company used to own the Nine Network, but sold their final stake in 2008.

Since his father`s death in 2005, Packer has moved the business away from its traditional media operations and focused on creating Crown, a worldwide gambling empire.