This weekend, Aussie media began reporting that Packer had been involved in some kind of verbal and physical dustup with a member of security at Crown Melbourne on New Year’s Day. The 60-year-old staffer reportedly collapsed following the incident, requiring his hospitalization.
According to various reports, MSS Security staffer Iskander Chaban had been alerted that a VIP was headed his way but Chaban failed to recognize Packer and Crown vice-president Ishan Ratnam when they tried to enter Crown Melbourne’s main casino floor.
Chaban told the Herald Sun that he “stopped their path just to have a word with them,” after which the two execs “started screaming at me using the most terrible language” then “pushed me out of the way.” Chaban told the Sunday Telegraph that the execs demanded that he be fired immediately.
Chaban claims to have been so shaken by the incident that he later collapsed on his train ride home, leading to his seeking medical treatment at a local hospital for shock and aggravation of an old back injury. Chaban has since engaged a Melbourne law firm regarding a possible claim.
Crown issued a statement describing the situation as a “minor incident” resulting from Chaban “causing a collision” with the two execs, after which “a verbal altercation ensued.” Crown said Chaban had initially been suspended in keeping with normal protocols but had been reinstated following a review.
In 2014, Packer was involved in a far more violent altercation on the streets of Bondi with his old friend, Nine Network president David Gyngell. The fisticuffs were preserved for eternity by local paparazzi but Packer ultimately downplayed the fight as just a couple of buddies working out some issues by punching each other in the face.