An Australian Mafia boss allegedly paid $2.2 million in bribes to NSW judges to get lighter jail sentences, a joint investigation reveals.
An in-depth probe into the Calabrian Mafia, conducted jointly by Fairfax Media and the ABC, has allegedly exposed the influence of the group across the nation, including all levels of government.
The allegations were made in a series of confidential police reports written and circulated to state agencies between 2003 and 2014.
One report described how NSW police gathered information in 2003 that Mafia figures in Griffith – the group’s traditional stronghold – had been “receiving information from a person connected to the police in Griffith and the court”,” Fairfax Media reported.
“It is alleged that a Sydney based IOC (Italian Organised Crime) member received light sentences in the past because he paid off (Sydney) judges, costing approximately $2.2 million,” the report said.
“The protection provided to IOC members by other members comes in many forms, ranging from the simple criminal code of silence or perjury, to more sinister acts involving corrupt influence (and) abusing a position of responsibility.
“IOC groups in NSW have infiltrated members into, or recruited people from, public organisations, government and law enforcement agencies with the lure of money.”
Fairfax had recently spoken to senior law enforcement sources who identified a judge allegedly involved, saying he had since left the bench.
The investigation found policing authorities had failed to dismantle a “board of directors” of Calabrian Mafia heads across Australia, which had allowed them to continue illicit drug trades, form links with bikie groups, and infiltrate all levels of government.
NSW police intelligence described how detectives had allegedly discovered that mobsters “actively approached members of the Australian Defence Forces for the purpose of acquiring firearms and ammunition”.
The police reports also revealed the group known as the ‘Ndrangheta, or Honoured Society, continued to control both legitimate and illegitimate businesses, with money earned both from the drug trade and from stand-over and extortion within pockets of Australia’s fresh food trade, trucking and construction industries, Fairfax reported.
The NSW police have also discovered “information [that] suggests a monopoly exists … at the Sydney Fish Markets where private arrangements need to be made for their purchase”.
The report said these arrangements allegedly involved cartel behaviour, including price fixing and threats of violence.
The revelation that Mafia figures banned from NSW and Victorian casinos over money laundering concerns were simply heading to the Gold Coast casino suggested another major weakness in anti-organised crime measures, the police report alleged.