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Bikies infiltrate police


Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker

Age crime writer John Silvester explains why Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay decided to take on the state's bikies.

Victoria Police has been infiltrated by two of Australia's leading outlaw bikies - Comanchero president and convicted drug trafficker Amad Malkoun and Toby Mitchell, the Bandidos boss at the centre of the state's bikie war.

Malkoun is a multimillionaire with extensive business interests, including large shareholdings in Australian and overseas private and publicly listed companies. 

The long-standing cultivation of police by high-ranking bikies and their associates has compromised the safety of undercover officers and informers and jeopardised investigations, including two major probes into Malkoun.


The connections between bikies and police officers.

In a development with parallels to the links between gangland figures and corrupt police during Melbourne's underworld war, separate investigations by several agencies have uncovered at least a dozen police who are suspected of having inappropriate links to bikies.

Fairfax Media can reveal that Mitchell, the Bandidos sergeant-at-arms and a suspected crime figure, has cultivated a relationship with a Victorian police officer, communicating with him dozens of times in the past two years in an apparent breach of the force's criminal associations policy.

It is understood that the officer has also been accused of with-holding information from police about who was behind the attempted 2011 underworld hit on Mitchell, which sparked the bikie war. The policeman also advised Mitchell to avoid police attention and discussed the use and sale of illegal steroids with him.

Multimillionaire Comanchero president Amad Malkoun and Bandidos sergeant-at-arms Toby Mitchell (inset).

Multimillionaire Comanchero president Amad Malkoun and Bandidos sergeant-at-arms Toby Mitchell (inset). Photo: Supplied/Craig Abraham

The police officer, whom Fairfax Media is not naming for legal reasons, was recently suspended from the force and charged in connection to allegations he bought illegal steroids from a Mitchell associate.

Confidential reports from several agencies reveal that Malkoun, who was convicted of trafficking $5.5 million worth of heroin in 1988, has escaped arrest for a decade due to his links to corrupt police.

Suspected police leaks to Malkoun or his crime syndicate have led to the compromising of two international drug trafficking investigations by federal policing agencies in 2011 and 2004.

Illustration: Ron Tandberg.

Illustration: Ron Tandberg.

Australian Federal Police internal reports from around 2004 describe Malkoun as a drug trafficker and standover man and warn that he "has displayed a willingness to exploit friendships with persons who are in a position to assist him achieve his criminal endeavours [and that] … Malkoun actively continues to cultivate friendships with serving members of the Victoria Police''.

Between 2010 and last year, Malkoun continued to socialise with Victorian policemen, inviting up to three officers to his Crown Casino wedding, and attended a christening with two officers at a Greek restaurant in central

Melbourne. During this period his syndicate has accessed extraordinarily sensitive law enforcement information, including details suspected to have come from a secret and supposedly highly secure police list of Australian organised crime targets.

The multi-agency drug trafficking probe Operation Corsair was abandoned in February 2011 after Malkoun received a tip-off that he was on this list and being targeted by police. That tip-off mirrored the leak Malkoun received in 2004, when he was the subject of an AFP drugs operation codenamed Temper.

The leak that compromised Operation Corsair was captured by secret phone taps, which recorded a Malkoun associate and Bandidos senior member, Nick Zakharia, telling Malkoun that he and "three of our people" were on a ''list'' and that police were monitoring Malkoun's movements in a ''full-on'' manner. Zakharia is a key player in the ongoing bikie war and a major police organised crime target.

After receiving the tip-off, Malkoun immediately called Sydney Comanchero boss Zac Idik and told him that Malkoun's phones were being tapped.

Investigations by the now disbanded Office of Police Integrity and other agencies identified several Victorian policemen associating with Malkoun or members of his criminal syndicate over several years. It is understood the OPI assessed that when Malkoun and Zakharia were speaking about the ''list'' they were referring to a document of organised crime targets prepared by Victoria Police and shared with federal and state counterparts. However, senior Victorian police maintain this was never proven.

An AFP report from around 2004 states that members of Malkoun's syndicate are "aware of police surveillance techniques, having identified surveillance members and employing anti-surveillance techniques".

One of Malkoun's closest associates in the police force was recently resigned sergeant Richard Gelemanovic, who flew to the Spanish city of Barcelona with Malkoun in 2004 when he was the target of Operation Temper.

More recently, Mr Gelemanovic attended Malkoun's wedding and has had regular contact with him. Property and other records show that Mr Gelemanovic has had close associations with other figures with underworld links, including Zakharia and a kickboxing promoter who invested in an Edithvale property with the policeman.

Malkoun is a multimillionaire with extensive business interests, including large shareholdings in Australian and overseas private and publicly listed companies.

The Comancheros own tattoo parlours, nightclubs and other licensed businesses across the state, often in defiance of regulations that require them to be owned by people of good character.

A police spokesman told Fairfax Media on Tuesday that Mr Gelemanovic had never declared his association with Malkoun as required by force policy and that the policeman had resigned in November, citing ill health. He was under investigation at the time, having been suspended several months earlier on the basis that ''he was reasonably believed to have committed an offence punishable by imprisonment''.

Other police charged over their links to bikies include detective Andrew Tait, who has resigned from the force and was convicted and fined in May last year over allegations he leaked information to bikie figure Michael Manzaris.

Victoria Police has asked Fairfax Media to withhold details of another investigation into links between a serving officer and bikies because it is ongoing.


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