Asia

Australia police fine billionaire James Packer over brawl

  • 9 May 2014
  • From the section Asia
File image of James Packer from 23 July 2013 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The brawl between Mr Packer and his friend has been widely reported in Australian media

Australian police have fined a gambling tycoon and a TV executive following a public brawl in Bondi Beach that sparked a tabloid frenzy.

Billionaire James Packer and David Gyngell were cited for "offensive behaviour", which carries a fine of A$500 ($467, £276) if uncontested.

Police had launched an investigation into the incident on Sunday although no official complaint was filed.

The cause of the brawl between the two friends still remains unclear.

"Police today issued a 46-year-old man and a 48-year-old man with a Criminal Infringement Notice for offensive behaviour," the New South Wales police statement said, without identifying the men by name.

The brawl has been widely reported in Australian media, with photos reportedly selling for a six-figure sum.

Photographs showed the two men trading punches, wrestling and swapping headlocks. Video footage then showed them grappling on the ground, with three other men trying to separate them.

James Packer, 46, son of media tycoon Kerry Packer, has an estimated wealth of around A$6bn from his gaming empire. David Gyngell, 48, is a top-level media executive.

Both men stood as best man at each other's weddings.

Mr Gyngell earlier this week accepted full responsibility for the fight, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said.

"We have been friends for 35 years and still are," the men said in a joint statement released after the fight.

"In that time we have had our fair share of ups and downs. We respect each other and neither of us will be commenting further."

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