James Packer’s fixation with the nation of Israel has been laid bare in witness testimony heard at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial.
Local magazine Haaretz explained that the Australian casino magnate wasn’t just another billionaire who developed relationships with Israel’s elite.
The embattled 53-year-old bought a seaside mansion next to Mr Netanyahu, literally kissed the feet of former Israeli President Shimon Peres and was nicknamed ‘James Bond’ by a man who would later go on to take the reins of the spy agency, Mossad.
The stunning court documents also shed light on the fragile mental state of the former Crown Casino boss who flirted with the idea of converting to Judaism.
‘There was tremendous chemistry forged between us. He decided that I’m the most impressive person he met,’ Mr Netanyahu said in evidence.
James Packer’s (pictured with ex-wife Mariah Carey) fixation with the nation of Israel has been laid bare in witness testimony heard at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured with wife Sara) is currently on trial for fraud and bribery linked to Mr Packer
‘He brought his first girlfriend here (model Miranda Kerr) and afterwards his second girlfriend (singer Mariah Carey). A deep bond formed between us. He told me I was the person dearest to him.’
Mr Packer first travelled to Israel in 2013, where he was enticed by President Netanyahu – or Bibi as he’s often called by close friends – to buy a neighbouring property halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Witness statements outline that Mr Netanyahu seduced Packer into buying the mega-home so he could use it himself when he wasn’t there.
Mr Netanyahu had his own key and even stored grates of expensive champagne there for his wife Sara.
It is suggested that the controversial Israeli leader wanted to ‘benefit from the friendship’, according to his former bureau chief, and tried to convince him to buy an Israel newspapers that was critical of the leader.
Those alleged dealings, along with many other potentially gifts from Packer, are now a major part of Mr Netanyahu’s bribery and fraud trial which could see him ousted from office after over 15 years in power.
Mr Netanyahu has given evidence denying all the allegations against him.
Mr Packer first travelled to Israel in 2013, where he was enticed by President Netanyahu (pictured) to buy a neighbouring property halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa
Mr Packer, 53, is pictured with his girlfriend Kylie Lim in St Tropez, France on June 24, 2018
Those close to the matter say the alleged plot to buyout the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper didn’t go to plan.
After reporting the bad news to the Netanyahu’s, Mr Packer went back to his hotel room and burst into tears sobbing to his personal assistant Hadas Klein that: ‘Sara Netanyahu shouted at me’.
‘He took it really hard,’ Klein told investigators.
‘He very much admired them and loved them, and he’s a sensitive guy. A good soul with a huge heart, who needs warmth and love.
‘In the morning we took him to the airport and he threw up violently from the pressure.’
Pictured: Packer’s luxury six-star hotel Crown Towers at Sydney’s Crown Casino
Regulators refused to grant the Barangaroo casino (pictured) a gaming licence after an 18-month probe found Crown facilitated hundreds of millions of dollars of laundered money between 2014 and 2019
Ari Harow, a former bureau chief of Mr Netanyahu told the inquiry: ‘It was clear that the relationship from his Netanyahu’s point of view was in order to benefit from this friendship’.
A housekeeper for Mr Packer’s Israel mansion told the bribery and fraud hearing the two high-profile men would lounge on the veranda together and smoke lavish cigars.
Mr Packer also entertained the likes of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop and Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort at the luxurious home.
During his repeated visits to the promised land, Mr Packer became close to many of Israel’s elites.
Documents reveal that when the former Israeli President Shimon Peres visited Mr Packer’s home, he dropped to his knees and kissed his feet as a show of respect.
The colourful businessman also grew so tight with the country’s National Security Chief Yossi Cohen, he nicknamed Mr Packer ‘James Bond’ and ‘No 1 Spy.’
The two were introduced by Israeli film producer Arnon Milchan, who told the inquiry Mr Packer offered Mr Cohen a job running a cyber security company.
Stunning court documents shed light on the fragile mental state of the former Crown Casino boss (pictured with Maria Carey) who flirted with the idea of converting to Judaism
Mr Packer owns a $200million superyacht called IJE (pictured)
‘We were in the Savoy Hotel in London – myself, Yossi Cohen and Packer,’ Milchan testified. ‘And then, in the middle of the street he (Packer) suddenly broke into tears and cried about his situation.’
Mr Harrow gave evidence that he was also concerned about Mr Packer’s drinking and mental state.
After suffering a breakdown while in the US during 2016, Mr Netanyahu urged Mr Packer to come to Israel to receive help.
Back home in Australia, the $200million superyacht owner has come under immense scrutiny from gaming regulators.
Crown recently opened its new $2.4billion venue in Sydney without the VIP casino that was meant to be its centrepiece.
Regulators refused to grant the Barangaroo casino a gaming licence after an 18-month probe found Crown facilitated hundreds of millions of dollars of laundered money between 2014 and 2019.
Mr Packer has since stepped down as director of the casino empire and there is now pressure for him to sell his remaining stake in the company.
Daily Mail Australia have contacted Mr Packer for comment on the court proceedings playing out in Israel.