Australia Standover man's 'shooter' blackmailed lawyer in bid to recoup $160,000 debt, court told

12:02  08 august  2018
12:02  08 august  2018 Source:   smh.com.au

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Once I had obtained a doctorate as a " standover man ", robbing drug dealers and other criminals, who funnily enough couldn't report me to the police, became childs play. I once told a friend "why rob a straight guy of when you can rob a drug dealer of , 000 and he can't go running to the police?"

Alex © Supplied Alex "Little Al" Taouil died unexpectedly in December last year, when complications arose after routine surgery. A "shooter" for late underworld figure and standover man Alex "Little Al" Taouil acted as a "standover man" himself, when he made a blackmail attempt to recoup $160,000 from a Sydney lawyer, a court has heard.

Abdul Khan, from Canterbury, was allegedly one of two men called upon by Vince Battaglia to extort his former lawyer, after Mr Battaglia's construction business SX Projects Pty Ltd went belly up in 2015.

Police allege Mr Khan, a purported major firearms supplier, and his co-accused Perry Condoleon paid multiple visits to Sydney lawyer Farshad Amirbeaggi, seeking $160,000 in compensation from the lawyer who had acted for SX Projects since 2010.

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Mr Khan, 30, is charged with demanding property in company with menaces, with intent to steal, among other offences.

He was refused bail at Burwood Local Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to all offences.

Khan's co-accused, Mr Condoleon, will appear before Burwood Local Court on August 16.

Magistrate Robyn Denes told the court the prosecution case was "effectively a blackmail-type case" in which Mr Khan was "a standover man at the behest of Mr Battaglia".

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It is alleged Mr Condoleon first visited Mr Amirbeaggi at the lawyer's office on June 19.

At the meeting, he purported to be "looking out" for the lawyer, by telling him Mr Battaglia had hired a person - Mr Khan - to collect the $160,000.

By way of a threat, Mr Amirbeaggi was told Mr Khan was one of “Little Al’s shooters" and a "serious player that will just do the job he is asked", according to facts tendered to the court.

"Little Al" was a known standover man and a close associate of bikies and Melbourne identity Mick Gatto. He died unexpectedly in December last year, when complications arose after routine nose surgery.

On Wednesday, Mr Khan's defence lawyer Omar Juweinat told the court that while a connection to the underworld figure was used to threaten Mr Amirbeaggi, the lawyer had previously acted for "Little Al" and as such, would have known that "he passed away a long time ago".

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But Ms Denes said that whether "Little Al" was deceased or otherwise was irrelevant.

"It would go to playing on the fear of the mind of the complainant ... and [he] would have been concerned ['Little Al's'] associates were still working."

After Mr Condoleon first visited Mr Amirbeaggi, the lawyer "reluctantly" agreed to meet again with Mr Condoleon and Mr Khan, and was told not to tell anyone about the meeting.

It is alleged he feared for his life and that of his family, prompting him to notify police.

The three men then met in an Italian restaurant in Sydney's CBD on June 28, where Mr Khan "gestured his hand in the shape of a gun and said 'I was told to come and shoot you in the head'," the facts state.

Motivated by a fear of harm, Mr Amirbeaggi later electronically transferred two payments of $5000 to an account nominated by Mr Condoleon.

It is understood communications between Mr Khan and Mr Condoleon after the meeting indicated their intention to claim another $10,000 from the Sydney lawyer.

In total, Mr Khan and Mr Condoleon are alleged to have met with Mr Amirbeaggi four times - once at his office and three times at the CBD restaurant between June 19 and July 9.

By July 13 the Sydney lawyer had paid $30,000 to the two men.

Mr Juweinat said the prosecution case was ambiguous, and argued that police facts showed it had "always been Mr Condoleon that instigated contact" between the three men.

However, Ms Denes refuted any suggestion that it was not a strong prosecution case and refused bail.

Mr Khan will appear before Burwood Local Court again on October 3.

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