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Garry Raymond Green, a real estate agent and ex-footballer accused of helping marijuana dealers invest fortunes, has been charged with trafficking and faces an extra 15 years jail if convicted.
The charges – which are strenuously denied by Green – signal a renewed push by police to use laws designed to break bikie gangs against professionals who they allege knowingly protect criminal enterprises and help them prosper.
Detective Inspector Terry Lawrence of gang squad Maxima said a wide range of “facilitators” could fall foul of the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act.
“It could be lawyers, it could be accountants, it could be real estate agents, you name it,” he said.
“It could be any sort of business person who is assisting (crime groups) not only to carry on their business but to hide it and even help launder their money.”
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Police allege Green, 33, was “heavily involved in the financial affairs” of a syndicate that smuggled as much as $15 million of cannabis from Melbourne through Brisbane Airport.
Det Insp Lawrence said police were still considering whether to charge Green, who allegedly helped channel property investments for syndicate members, with money laundering.
Defence lawyer Adam Magill said Green was shocked by his arrest and would fight to clear his name.
“As any other businessman in this situation would be, he’s just devastated,” Mr Magill said.
“He knows all the players (in the alleged crime group) but vehemently denies any involvement or otherwise in any syndicate.”
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Green, who as a property agent hosted celebrity auctions and took clients on charter fishing trips, spent Easter behind bars after appearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court last week.
His hearing for bail – made tougher under VLAD – will resume tomorrow.
An acquaintance described Green, who played professional rugby league in the UK, as “very smart, very articulate, very switched on”.
His stint with third-tier UK team the York City Knights was reportedly cut short in 2009 when new visa laws forced him out of the country.
Green then founded a Gold Coast property agency, GG Group “on a simple philosophy passed down from his grandfather adhering to the old-fashioned values of decency, integrity and honesty”, the website says.
His online bio describes him as “a country boy at heart” with a “diverse background”.
Green previously worked for the NSW Government as a fisheries officer and owned construction and security businesses.
His current venture is Indigenous Development Solutions, which describes itself as working on housing and business projects with Aboriginal communities and governments.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said VLAD laws, prompted by a bikie brawl last year, had “always been about targeting sophisticated organised crime”.
“It was well known (crime gangs) were funnelling their money into other ventures and this has been about breaking their enterprise,” Mr Bleijie said.