JAMES PACKER, Australia’s richest man, and David Gyngell, the head of one of the country’s largest television networks, were seen in a street brawl near Bondi Beach that has “captivated the nation”.
Onlookers said that Gyngell waited 20 minutes by his SUV for Packer to arrive in a chauffer-driven car at his Bondi home. The pair then "went at it hammer and tongs" in a brawl in which one of the two men lost two teeth, the Daily Telegraph reports.
According to The Times, the fracas came about after Gyngell’s Channel Nine network parked a news van outside Packer’s house hoping to video Packer alongside the Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr.
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In recent weeks, rumours have circulated that Packer, the son of the late media mogul Kerry, has been seeing Kerr after separating from his second wife, Erica Baxter, six months ago. “Packer was furious because he believed a Channel Nine camera crew was lying in wait to try to catch him with his alleged girlfriend”, The Times says.
Packer had previously telephoned Gyngell, his former best friend and best man, to object to the presence of the van. After a heated argument, Gyngell drove to Packer’s house to confront him, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The casino magnate’s neighbour, Chris Walker, who witnessed the fight, said on his Facebook page that when Packer arrived home, Gyngell called him “every name under the sun”.
Walker wrote: “Packer puckered a punch but copped a couple of hits straight to the jaw. Then they all fell on the concrete fence and I think the other guy broke his face.”
Photographer Brendan Beirne who was also at the scene sold images of the brawl to Rupert Murdoch’s publishing house News Corp Australia for an estimated £118,000.
The pictures were splashed across the front page of Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. The publication’s website also published a short video of the two businessmen being wrestled apart by security guards.
Channel Nine issued a joint statement yesterday saying that in spite of the clash, the pair remained friends and during the course of their 35-year friendship had weathered their “fair share of ups and downs”.
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