By John Horn, Associated Press Writer
July 14, 1995
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A john "down under" named in Heidi Fleiss' federal trial as the client who hired nine prostitutes in one week is Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer, sources close to the case say.
Packer, 57, chairman of Consolidated Press Holdings, is among Australia's wealthiest citizens and is married with two children.One of his sons is an executive with his television business, Nine Network.
"Mr. Packer has a longstanding policy of not commenting on unsubstantiated allegations concerning his private life," a companystatement said Thursday.
Prostitute Judy Geller testified in Fleiss' money laundering trial this week that she and as many as eight other Fleiss prostitutesflew to Las Vegas in 1992 to meet an Australian businessman.
Geller and at least three of the other women spent a week with the man, identified in questioning as a Kerry Packer, Geller said. She said Packer paid her $10,000.
That Kerry Packer is the same person who owns Australia's largest and most profitable TV network and a major magazine publishing group, according to two people close to the case who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Packer is one of several moneyed Fleiss clients whose names have surfaced in the Hollywood madam's federal trial. Gelleridentified "Platoon" actor Charlie Sheen as a sex customer, and she and another prostitute said that former Denver Nuggetsowner Sidney Shlenker also paid for sex.
Shlenker has admitted to hiring prostitutes; Sheen is scheduled to testify Saturday on videotape, with his testimony shown tothe jury next week.
In other testimony Thursday, a mortgage broker said he and Fleiss created a false lease so that Fleiss' father could qualify for a$1 million home loan.
Christopher Furie said that he knowingly submitted the false document in support of a loan for actor Michael Douglas' $1.6million Benedict Canyon estate.
Furie said that Fleiss' father, pediatrician Paul Fleiss, was listed on the loan application as the borrower, and that bank rulesrequired the borrower to live in the property.
But he knew that Fleiss herself would be living in the house, and failed to tell the bank or stop the loan application. Furietestified under immunity.
When the real estate deal closed, Fleiss paid Furie a $10,000 commission - in cash. Prosecutors maintain Fleiss helped closeescrow on the estate with a sackful of $100 bills totalling $54,000.
The government says Fleiss used her father and sister's bank accounts to launder the proceeds of her call-girl ring. Prosecutorsalso say a 1992 tax return listing income of $33,000 was inaccurate since Fleiss boasted she was making $60,000 a monthfrom her prostitutes.
Fleiss faces about five years if convicted on the federal money laundering, bank fraud and tax evasion charges. She was sentenced to three years following her December convictions on state pandering charges.