Australian billionaire magnate James Packer, who is tied to the corruption trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, allegedly cited a person connected to the Mossad while threatening a businessman, Australian newspapers reported Tuesday.
According to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, the unnamed businessman was so concerned by the emailed threat that he sought security and legal advice on the matter, and spent tens of thousands of Australian dollars on securing his home.
The emails were discussed during an inquiry by the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Commission, but lawyers for Packer had asked for the specific contents to be kept hidden due to what they said was Packer’s mental state at the time of writing.
“I was sick at the time,” Packer said.
Packer has been public about his battles with depression and has sought treatment in the past. The inquiry is examining whether gaming empire Crown should be allowed a casino license in New South Wales, with Packer’s suitability as a “close associate” of the company investigated on character grounds.
Despite his lawyers’ request for suppression, the newspapers revealed that the threat involved the unnamed individual from the Israeli intelligence agency.
The reports said that in the threat to the leading private equity executive, Packer referred to a person connected to the intelligence agency “and their capacity to threaten” the businessman.
The businessman refused to comment on the reports to the newspapers.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Packer told the inquiry, via video link from his superyacht, that it “came as a surprise” to him that the businessman would be worried by the threat, but admitted that his emails were “shameful” and “disgraceful.”
The inquiry heard that at around the same time that Packer sent the email, he was planning to launch a cybersecurity business with Hollywood-based Israeli movie mogul Arnon Milchan — who has said he was involved in clandestine arms deals and efforts to buy technologies that Israel allegedly needed to make nuclear weapons — and another person whom the newspaper described as “subsequently connected to Mossad.”
According to transcripts leaked to Channel 13 news last year, Milchan told police investigators he was friendly with Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and that he introduced Cohen to Packer and the two became fast friends.
Milchan and others testified that Cohen was in talks to join Packer and Milchan’s cybersecurity company, Blue Sky International, right up until his appointment as Mossad head in 2015. Cohen’s office denied the report.
The Australian reports did not mention either Cohen or Blue Sky International.
Accusations against Netanyahu at his trial on charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes include allegations over his acceptance of some $200,000 in gifts such as cigars and champagne from Milchan and Packer.
Additionally, the premier’s son Yair has spent time at Packer’s apartment in the Royal Beach Hotel in Tel Aviv.
The Netanyahus have denied any wrongdoing.