News State Victoria News Tomato tin ecstasy ‘mastermind’ to appeal life sentence

Tomato tin ecstasy ‘mastermind’ to appeal life sentence

Pasquale Barbaro is serving a life sentence. Photo: ABC
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Pasquale Barbaro, jailed as the mastermind of a failed 15 million ecstasy pill import in 2007, is eyeing his freedom.

He was handed a life sentence over the so-called tomato tins plot, busted by police who seized the $122 million shipment before he could take delivery.

Barbaro now joins half a dozen others convicted over the import in appealing due to the involvement of turncoat barrister Nicola Gobbo in the bust.

She handed over the shipping documents to her Victoria Police handlers, during her third stint as a registered police informer, even helping translate information from Italian.

She received the documents from her client Rob Karam, who is also serving jail time and appealing over the tomato tins conviction.

The bill of lading was passed from her police handlers anonymously to Australian Federal Police and Customs officials who intercepted the shipment, hidden among tins of tomatoes in a container that arrived on a Melbourne dock from Italy.

Barbaro, serving at least 30 years before he’s eligible for parole, was also busted a year later over two shipments from the same suppliers.

When he was caught he’d allegedly already received $7.25 million for what he’d sold, keeping $1.75 million for himself and sending the rest of the cash back to the Italian dealers.

Barbaro’s appeal against his sentence and conviction was filed in Victoria’s Court of Appeal last month.

As well as Karam, appeals are also under way by fellow importers Frank Madafferi, Saverio Zirilli, Carmelo Falanga and Salvatore Agresta.

Another man, Jan Visser, is awaiting the outcome of a Court of Appeal hearing in July.

Separate appeals related to Ms Gobbo are under way by drug kingpin Tony Mokbel and Zlate Cvetanovski.