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The legal ramifications following Sunday's brawl between Channel Nine boss David Gyngell and James Packer have taken a mysterious turn following the broadcast of an apparent mea culpa on the Nine Network today, clearly portraying the CEO as the instigator of the explosive kerbside brawl.
Packer v Gyngell brawl 'must be investigated'
Former NRMA Director Richard Talbot explains why he asked NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione to investigate the street brawl between billionaire James Packer and Channel 9 CEO David Gyngell.
However just hours after it aired the extraordinary admission from Gyngell, Nine was claiming no statement from Gyngell had been released and referring only to comments made on its news bulletin from senior reporter Tom Steinfort.
However the alleged Gyngell statement was also broadcast, word for word, on rival Seven Network.
On Nine's morning news bulletin, senior journalist Tom Steinfort read a statement quoting a Channel Nine spokesman: "David Gyngell respects the job that police do and will co-operate fully with their investigation.
"He also fully accepts that he was instigator of the incident and that clearly if he had not turned up at Packer's premises in an angry mood then the confrontation would never have occurred."
The alleged statement was also picked up by rival network Channel Seven and aired on its news bulletins today.
However a Channel Nine spokeswoman said no statement had been issued from the network on Gyngell's behalf, saying only that Gyngell will cooperate with police. The police confirmed earlier today they would be investigating the incident, giving rise to the possibility of Gyngell or Packer being charged with public affray.
If convicted of such a charge it would have serious consequences for both men, with criminal convictions effectively banning an individual from the office of chief executive officer.
Meanwhile James Packer has been busy today doing the rounds of his other influential friends, including calling in on fellow billionaire and Channel Seven chairman Kerry Stokes' Woolloomoolloo offices early this afternoon.
Packer has been sporting a black left eye, a result of Sunday's punch up.
At around 3.10pm he was seen boarding a private jet at Sydney Airport, heading for Melbourne.