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We’ll match mogul punch for punch, says SL MP

7 May 2014 01:31 pm - 8     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A leading Sri Lankan political figure says James Packer’s brawl with David Gyngell will not stop him passing a probity test for a proposed $US400 million ($430m) casino hotel in Colombo, but has warned the billionaire that his “arrogance’’ and tough business style would be “matched punch for punch’’.

Sri Lankan opposition United National Party MP Harsha de Silva has been a vocal opponent of gaming being a part of Mr Packer’s proposed Crown Sri Lanka venture with local partner Rank Holdings group and yesterday stepped up his criticism of the billionaire.

“The incident with Gyngell didn’t surprise me, given his aggressive style of getting his way and the arrogance with which he operates,’’ Dr de Silva said. ‘’I say to Mr Packer, ‘Don’t try to bring that arrogance here locally. We will match you punch for punch’.’’

But asked if a police inquiry into Sunday’s fight with Mr Gyngell could hamper Mr Packer’s ability to pass probity in Sri Lanka, Dr de Silva said: “To me it is a slip of judgment. Everyone is human. To me it has no relevance to the project. This is his personal life.’’

A source close to Mr Packer last night argued the billionaire acted in self-defence.

Last week Sri Lanka approved construction of three luxury resorts in Colombo, including the Crown project, but said no new casino licences would be issued for them. Crown plans to push ahead with its plans because its partner, Rank Holdings, says it holds two casino licences.

But Rank chairman Ravi Wijeratne was reported in the Sri Lankan media yesterday as saying he was “simply fed-up” with the project. “I do not think I am going ahead with this project. I am sick of it,” he was quoted as saying.

Crown also has plans to expand its operations in Macau, The Philippines and Japan.

The board of Crown’s Macau partner, Melco Crown, has a regularly scheduled meeting later this month.

Crown has previously passed probity test in Nevada following its acquisition of a stake in Cannery Casino Resorts in Spring Valley and is reportedly looking at bidding for an asset on the Las Vegas strip.

The Nevada Gaming Commission says it requires licensees to be persons of “good character’’ and bars those “whose prior activities, criminal record, if any, reputation, habits and associations do not pose a threat to the public interests of the state’’.(The Austarlian)

  Comments - 8

  • Kevin Wednesday, 07 May 2014 03:04 PM

    Mr.Packer: If you fail the probity test in Australia come and become a permanent resident of Sri Lanka. Your type will feel right at home here.

    Tom Wednesday, 07 May 2014 08:51 PM

    Mr. Packer Now U have shown ur skill. Ur qulified to contest One of our PRADESHIYA SABA... Even we can cosider about ur Opponents too... Sorry earlier we didnt know about U.. Our Thugs are wating for you to serve U... Here we have Casino but those club Owners are not street fighters. . via DM Android App

    Jeev Wednesday, 07 May 2014 04:59 PM

    This is wonder of asia ,we welcome any type of business including strip clubs Do not disturb the happiness that we were going to enjoy.

    Ben Hurling Wednesday, 07 May 2014 05:07 PM

    Crystal clear speaking Harsha. Well done!

    Rohan. Wednesday, 07 May 2014 07:37 PM

    What happens if GOSL breach the Casino contract signed with Packer. Can Packer sue GOSL. Who is the looser here.

    nimal Thursday, 08 May 2014 04:23 AM

    No new licenses will be issued...but can use the existing licenses...

    Mutu Thursday, 08 May 2014 04:29 AM

    Well said Mr Kevin

    Nihal Amarasekera Thursday, 08 May 2014 05:38 AM

    " Opposition" is so cutely patriotic & culture conscious when in opposition, at least that is what opposition is for.

    Anyway hats off to Harsha, he seems really genuine.


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