Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Sydney billionaire fight pair fined

Casino mogul James Packer, left, and his friend David Gyngell, have been fined over their street brawl

Police have fined one of Australia's richest businessmen and a top television executive 500 Australian dollars (£280) each for a high-profile street fight in an exclusive Sydney beachside suburb.

Media across Australia have published photographs and video of casino mogul James Packer and his longtime friend David Gyngell, chief executive of Nine Entertainment, punching and grappling with each other outside Mr Packer's luxury apartment at Bondi Beach on Sunday.

Police said both men had been issued with a criminal infringement notice for offensive behaviour. They can either pay the fine or fight the charge in court. Neither man could be immediately contacted today.

Photographs of Mr Packer after the fight show he had a black eye and swelling to the left side of his face. Mr Gyngell released a statement on Tuesday taking blame for the fight because he had gone to Mr Packer's home "in an angry mood."

Brendan Beirne, the photographer who reportedly sold his photographs for more than £120,000 after News Corp outbid Mr Gyngell's television network for the images, said he had provided investigators with his pictures as well as a sworn witness statement.

Mr Packer, 46, is chairman of Crown Resorts and has interests in casinos in Australia, Macau and Manila. Forbes lists him as Australia's third-richest person worth an estimated £3.9 billion.

Mr Gyngell, 48, and Mr Packer have been friends since high school and have been the best man at each other's weddings. They issued a joint statement on Monday saying that they remained friends.

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