The alleged altercation took place on New Year’s Day and Dr Chaban has told the Sunday Herald Sun that Packer, together with senior Crown colleague Ishan Ratnam, treated him ‘like a criminal’. He said: “I did nothing wrong. I didn’t deserve the way I was treated. I’m still in shock trying to take it all in.”
Dr Chaban, who has a PhD in philosophy, says he had just tried to have a word with Packer and Ratnam as it is not his style to be confrontational. He explained: “Whenever there is trouble at the casino I only ever whisper to the trouble makers quietly ‘let’s not let this get out of hand’. I like to calm things down. I never shout.”
Dr Chaban claims he was shouted at and pushed aside, before being escorted from the premises by other security guards. He says the experience left him ‘dazed and upset’ and requiring legal advice, but he has since been told that his job is safe and he can return to work when he is ready.
Crown Melbourne officials are adamant that the incident amounted to a minor misunderstanding. A spokesperson said: “A contract security officer, working inside the resort was radioed that a VIP was approaching his position, but failed to recognise Mr Packer, moving in front of him to attempt to physically block him from entering the casino and causing a collision.
“It’s understood that a verbal altercation ensued and Mr Packer continued into the facility. Subsequently, Crown security followed normal procedures and protocols suspending the officer, pending a review. Mr Chaban has now been reinstated.”
The incident is thought to have taken place just hours after Packer’s girlfriend, singer Mariah Carey, had performed at the casino, and is further unwanted publicity for Packer less than two years after he was pictured having a fight with fellow businessman David Gyngell.