Former Crown security guard sues Packer for damages

by Ethan Anderson Last Updated
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A former Crown casino security guard is pursuing James Packer for damages in court, alleging the billionaire assaulted him.

The Age reports Iskandar Chaban has named his employer, MSS Security, and Crown Resorts as defendants in a civil claim over the alleged altercation on New Year’s Day 2016, where Dr Chaban alleges Mr Packer threatened to have him sacked.

Dr Chaban has claimed in court documents that he did not recognise Crown’s long-serving executive chairman as he approached the main gaming floor at Crown Towers Melbourne with senior colleague Ishan Ratnam.

According to the statement filed on Tuesday, Dr Chaban thought the casino mogul may have been intoxicated at the time.

“The second defendant [Mr Packer] became verbally abusive and threatening towards the plaintiff and ran towards the plaintiff, pushing him in the chest.

“The second defendant then verbally threatened the plaintiff, saying words to the effect, ‘I will throw you out of your job’,” court documents state.

Dr Chaban, who obtained a PhD in philosophy at Melbourne University, claims he was then escorted to an office where he was allegedly “abused, humiliated, intimidated and bullied” by four Crown managers, before he was driven to Southern Cross Station.

The then 60-year-old was later taken to Northern hospital suffering neck and back injuries and he has also been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, according to law firm Carbone Lawyers.

“Our client continues to suffer stress, anxiety and depression as a result of the conduct of Mr Packer and the co-defendants.

“Our client’s life has been devastated by the events that transpired,” Carbone Lawyers partner John Karantzis said.

Legal action rounds out dismal year for Crown 

At the time, Crown casino dismissed the incident as “minor” and a “misunderstanding”.

In a statement from January 2016, Crown claimed it had attempted to alert Dr Chaban that one of its “most important VIPs” was approaching, but the guard failed to recognise Mr Packer.

The guard physically blocked Mr Packer’s entrance to the gaming area, causing a “collision”, the statement read.

Last Wednesday, a Crown spokesman for Mr Packer denied the allegations.

“The alleged incident occurred almost five years ago, Mr Packer denies the allegations against him and will defend the proceeding,” the spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for Crown casino declined to comment, while MSS Security also did not respond.

The Supreme Court action against Mr Packer and Crown Resorts rounds out a dismal year for the billionaire and the casino giant, after a string of probity failings at Crown were uncovered by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

Over more than 60 days of public hearings, a series of “specific failings and shortcomings” at the company emerged, including repeated non-compliance with anti-money laundering laws, close links to dubious junket operators in China and the “deleterious” impact of major shareholder Mr Packer.

The 53-year-old who controls a 36 per cent stake in Crown, admitted to the inquiry in October that he wrote several emails in 2015 to Ben Gray, who was then the Australia boss of US private equity firm TPG and had been negotiating a privatisation deal.

Mr Packer was accused of threatening to harm Mr Gray through his connections with the Israeli national intelligence agency Mossad.

He conceded his conduct was “shameful” and “disgraceful” but attributed his actions to mental illness and bipolar disorder, for which he was being treated.

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