Banned for life: Millionaire bikie gang boss known as the 'Maltese Falcon' refused from EVER returning to Australia in landmark case
- Rebels bikie gang boss Alex Vella has been stranded in Malta since his visa was cancelled in June last year
- The Federal Court ruled this week he is banned from returning to Australia and the 'The Maltese Falcon' has been ordered to pay court costs
- Millionaire businessman Vella sold key rings and t-shirts to raise money for his court challenge
- Court documents claimed Rebels engaged in drug dealing, extortion and kidnapping under Vella
By Candace Sutton and Stephen Gibbs for Daily Mail Australia
Published: 14:41 EST, 23 April 2015 | Updated: 19:24 EST, 23 April 2015
The Australian Government has won its bid to ban the boss of the nation's biggest bikie gang from Australia after the Federal Court ruled unanimously against Alex Vella re-entering the country.
Three Federal Court judges ruled that Vella, 61 - who is regularly described as a millionaire businessman - be prohibited from returning after the government cancelled the Rebels bikie gang president's visa while he was overseas in his native Malta last year.
In a judgement obtained by Daily Mail Australia, the court this week ordered Vella, who has painted himself as a Nelson Mandela-like figure and sold stubby holders and t-shirts to fund his legal battle, pay all court costs.
The decision strands Vella in Malta, leaving behind in Australia 24 close family members including a wife, sons and an elderly mother, all of whom are Australian citizens.
Known as 'the Maltese Falcon', Vella is the longtime boss of the Rebels, which Federal Court documents obtained by Daily Mail Australia say are involved in drug dealing, money laundering, serious assaults, kidnapping, extortion, firearms offences, threatening law enforcement officers and intimidating court witnesses.
Banned for life: Rebels bikie gang president Alex Vella (left, dressed for court and, right, in bike gear) says he is a God-fearing, law-abiding family man who just likes riding motorcycles. The Federal Court this week banned him from Australia and police say he led a violent gang involved in kidnapping, extortion and drug dealing
Not welcome: Alex Vella (pictured, centre), millionaire businessman and president of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang since 1973, has failed to stop the government's cancellation of his visa while he was overseas, leaving him stranded in Malta and unable to return to his family in Australia
Police identify the Rebels as 'one of Australia's highest risk criminal threats' and say its exiled president Vella 'continues to to exert significant influence' over the group.
In this week's court judgement obtained by Daily Mail Australia, Mr Vella claimed the federal immigration minister had 'failed to afford him natural justice'.
But new documents released by the Federal Court reveal that the Abbott Government is not required to say why it opposed Vella's application for re-entry, other than cite his association with a criminal enterprise.
This week's order to pay the Federal Government's costs in his failed challenge could run into tens of thousands of dollars.
Via his Facebook page and a website dubbed 'Aussie at Heart', Vella has been selling T-shirts and other items emblazoned with his likeness and the motto 'Bring Him Home' to fund his court challenge.
Asking $25 for a stubby holder, car sticker and key-ring set, Vella used the quote of legendary South African leader Mandela, 'To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity'.
It was under former Immigration Minister Scott Morrison that Vella applied last year to re-enter Australia when Morrison cancelled the Rebels president's visa four days after the veteran biker left Australia for Malta. Peter Dutton took over as minister last December.
Former Immigration Minister Scott Morrison last year moved swiftly to cancel Rebels boss Alex Vella's visa under grounds the bikie gang leader was linked to kidnapping, extortion and drug running
The minister's decision relied on detailed intelligence provided by Australian Crime Commission-led Task Force Attero, established in 2012 to 'disrupt, disable and dismantle criminal activities of the Rebels MC - one of Australia's highest risk criminal threats'..
Attero investigators allege that under Vella's leadership the Rebels have engaged in multiple criminal enterprises. It is believed the gang has more than 2000 members across the country.
'The Rebels MC membership in Australia includes a significant number of individuals with criminal convictions,' a court document states.
'Between January 20012 and June 2013, 718 Rebels MC members, nominees and associates were either reported or arrested in relation to 1211 charges for offences ranging from violence related offences (including serious assault, stalking, kidnapping and affray), firearms and weapons offences, drugs offences, and property, street and traffic offences.
'Rebels MC members have used violence in a premeditated manner to discipline Rebels MC members who have been perceived to have breached Rebels MC rules, in disputes with other OMCGs, threaten law enforcement officers, intimidate court witnesses and extort businesses and individuals.'
This week's Federal Court judgement states that Alex Vella was born in Malta in 1953, emigrated to Australia aged 14 in 1967 and has been president of the Rebels Motorcycle Club since 1973.
He never became an Australian citizen. Mr Vella has a wife, two sons and two stepsons, nine grandchildren, nine siblings and an elderly mother, all of whom are Australian citizens.
The judgement said he left Australia for Malta on June 9 last year and on June 12, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection applied to cancel his visa.
Rebels president Alex Vella, second from left, has lost his fight against the Australian government's cancellation of his visa to the Federal Court after a legal battle in which he denied heading a criminal organisation
Catering to all budgets: Supporters of Alex Vella's failed fight to come home were offered a stubby holder, car sticker and key ring for $25 or could just make a donation of any size
Minister Morrison did so the following day on the grounds that Vella did not pass the character test by virtue of his association with a group suspected of criminal conduct.
Mr Vella challenged the visa revocation via his Australian lawyers and the case landed in the Federal Court.
On Tuesday this week, Justices Robert Buchanan, Geoffrey Flick and Michael Wigney of the Federal Court unanimously dismissed Mr Vella's application and ordered he pay costs.
Vella, who has repeatedly denied running a criminal organisation, still has the website alexvella.com.au selling selling $50 T-shirts with the Mandela quotes on the back.
Show your Support!' the website states. 'Help Alex funding his legal fees by purchasing some of these cool items. (Of course you can also just make a donation without purchasing any items.)'
'Bring Him Home': Supporters of Alex Vella were asked to help fund the Rebels president's legal fight against the cancellation of his visa by buying $50 t-shirts or stubby, car sticker and key ring sets for a mere $25
'To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity': Alex Vella quoted Nelson Mandela on the back of t-shirts he was selling as part of the millionaire bikie gang leader's failed bid to be allowed to return to Australia
The Let Alex Vella Return to Australia Facebook page has received more than 26,000 likes. Wayne West wrote on Wednesday: 'I'd rather have a Rebels clubhouse in my street than a mosque...'
Tony Hardacre wrote on the page on April 13, 'Been here 47 years what the f*** is going on he is an Australian citizen he should be let back into Australia'.
Vella has regularly returned to Malta since he moved to Australia and was crowned light heavyweight boxing champion of his homeland in 1978.
True patriot: Rebels bikie boss Alex Vella said he was not a criminal and just wanted to return to Australia so he could rejoin his family, run his motorcycle club and continue his charitable good works
Sometimes referred to as 'the Maltese Falcon', he has four sons, says he donates generously to charities and is a regular churchgoer. He describes the Rebels as 'family' and a 'brotherhood', not a criminal organisation.
'I have always worked hard and given back to community,' he states on his website. 'I have always voted and paid tax. All I want is to be able to return to my home of 46 years and be reunited with my family.'
The Attero task force sees him differently, according to court documents.
'The Rebels MC presents a high threat to the Australian community,' the court documents state. 'This OMCG has demonstrated an ability to increase its geographical influence, diversify across illicit drug markets and launder illicit profits.
'Alessio Emanuel Vella has been the National President of the Rebels MC since 1973. During this 40 years he has overseen the expansion of the OMCG from three original chapters to the largest OMCG in Australia. He has and continues to exert significant influence over the Rebels MC in Australia.
'Mr Vella acknowledges he is the National President of the Rebels MC. He also acknowledges he is aware that several members of the Rebels MC have been involved in criminal activities.
'The fact that Rebels MC members remain members despite criminal convictions including convictions obtained whilst members of the OMCG contradicts Mr Vella's assertions the Rebels MC does not condone criminal activity by its members, and allow them to remain members.
'The Rebels MC have remained cohesive and disciplined through Mr Vella's strong leadership.'
The Rebels has expanded from Australia to include international chapters in 20 other countries: Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, England, Fiji, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Laos, Lebanon, Malta, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and the USA.
The Attero task force comprises all state and territory police forces as well as the Australian Crime Commission, Australian Federal Police, Customs and Border Protection Service, Australian Tax Office, Australian Securities and Investments Commission and Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.