The world has watched in combined shock as wildfires have torn across Australia, taking lives and causing untold damage. The average person can do little other than to hope for the best, but those who are able to assist, such as local casino mogul James Packer, have done their part in the way that most makes sense, by donating.
Packer is most known for owning multiple casinos across Australia and the United Kingdom, as well as being a key name in the various luxurious Crown Resorts. He initially donated AU$1 million back in November, when the fires first erupted. But as the fires spread, intensified, and show no signs of abating, the billionaire businessman made an additional donation of AU$4 million.
The amount will be split between the Crown Resorts Foundation and Packer Family Foundation, which will, in turn, provide funding to the various fire-fighting services and relief efforts across the country.
Doing His Bit for The Country
The 52-year-old businessman explains that he was utterly horrified by the images he saw of the local devastation. This involves the latest reports on the fires, which have now claimed 2 lives, as well as destroying 43 homes in East Gippsland.
The sight motivated Packer to do his bit, he elaborated, in the only way he could, by making another donation. Though it was noted that the funds are limited to Western Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales, all of which are also home to Crown Resorts. So, some criticism has been heard accusing the mogul of favouring only areas where his personal casino investments are located. Either way, the donation is still certainly a generous one.
Crown Resorts Face Their Own Fire
But these accusations are the least of Packer’s worries at this point. His donations come at a time when he is having his own feet put to the fire, with local anti-money laundering regulator, AUSTRAC, homing in on his resorts.
Mutterings of serious misconduct in connection with Crown Resorts have long been rumoured, and may soon come to light as AUSTRAC engage in their investigations. It has been suggested that Crown Resort casinos, and by extension Packer himself, have indirectly been involved with organised crime syndicates, including those that have links to human trafficking and illegal drug trade.
It remains to be seen if the accusations turn out to be true, but the investigation itself is certainly not good publicity for the billionaire, despite his generous donations.