Fadi Ibrahim has been granted bail on a $2.2 million surety to be “basically under house arrest” after he was nabbed in Dubai over his alleged role in an international drug and tobacco smuggling conspiracy.
“There’s no allegation that he’s involved … with any of the drug transactions,” his lawyer Abbas Soukie said outside Sydney’s Central Local Court on Monday.
“He’s happy with the outcome today and he’s happy with his release.”
Ibrahim, 43, and younger brother Michael Ibrahim, 39, were arrested in Dubai last month and arrived in Sydney on Sunday night after being extradited.
Mustapha Dib, 34, and Koder Jomaa, 47, also returned to Sydney under police escort after being arrested alongside the brothers on August 8 during a series of raids in Sydney and Dubai that resulted in 18 people being charged.
The Ibrahims and Dib were netted as part of Operation Veyda, while Jomaa, a resident of the United Arab Emirates, was arrested as part of Operation Astatine.
While Michael Ibrahim is the alleged mastermind behind the tobacco smuggling operation, Fadi Ibrahim is accused of putting up $800,000 to fund it so he could double his money on return.
The older brother appeared via audiovisual link at Central Local Court on Monday, charged with dealing in more than $1 million of proceeds of crime and intending to use more than $100,000 as an instrument of crime, which have a maximum penalty of 25 and 20 years in jail respectively.
During Fadi Ibrahim’s successful bail application, prosecutor Matthew Kalyk said he was an unacceptable risk of failing to appear or interfering with witnesses.
He said Fadi Ibrahim, who told police he’d simply loaned his brother Michael money, was “not a fool” and must have had some idea of what the money was being used for.
“This applicant Mr Ibrahim was not a passive lender … but an active investor in his brother’s operation,” he said.
But the brothers’ barrister Phillip Boulten SC said the idea that Fadi Ibrahim doubled his money – which was refinanced from “legitimate bank accounts” – is based on “hearsay”.
Referring to the potential to interfere with witnesses, Mr Boulten said this is “not a case that is vulnerable to that sort of interference” because most of the 30 witnesses are police officers or agents of the police, he said.
Although Magistrate Les Mabbutt said he was “bemused” by one of the bail conditions put forward, he ultimately granted Fadi Ibrahim strict conditional bail.
On the $2.2 million surety, Ibrahim is to reside at his Dover Heights home, surrender his passport, have only one mobile phone, and not contact any co-accused or witnesses.
Michael Ibrahim could face life imprisonment if convicted of conspiring to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug, and attempting to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug
He did not appear at court and Mr Boulten did not apply for bail on his behalf.
The brothers will face the same court on November 1 with Dib, who has not applied for bail, and Jomaa.