The crypto crime correspondents known to Crikey as the Kooka Brothers write:

The newspapers said on Saturday that Antonios Sajih Mokbel was jailed for 12 years on Friday. But “Fat Tony” – capo de capo of the Sunshine Scum drug syndicate – has done the crime but not the time.

In gangland parlance – the wondrous place where life imitates art and vice versa – he was “in the wind”. Gone. Vanished. Vamoosed! The wallopers said he had “voluntarily absented himself.”

George “Puttyface” Williams (father of jailed gang capo Carl “Babyface” Williams) and associate and friend of Fat Tony’s told ABC’s Stateline on Friday night that Mokbel had probably opted out of his arduous prison commitments because they interfered too much with both his business and personal life. He opined that Mokbel’s exit strategy would have taken “a fair bit of planning”. He’s not wrong.

Doing a runner or “doing a Lord Lucan” is probably one of the hardest disappearing acts in the magician’s kit bag. It takes impeccable planning, stealth, resources, nous, networking and bucket-loads of cash. Mokbel had it all. At the sentencing, Justice Gillard described Mokbel as “intelligent and cunning,” and said he had astutely made sure that knowledge of his involvement in the plot (to import cocaine) was limited.

It would have been the same with his escape plans. Only his immediate family (and his girlfriend Danielle Maguire) would have known the details.

Mokbel had three years on bail to plan his getaway. Lucan had only three days to plan his after the murder of his children’s nanny in London on November 7, 1974. According to reports at the time Lucan was flown out of the country from Kent in a light plane arranged for by his good friends John Aspinall and James Goldsmith. The plane was headed to the south of France where arrangements were then made for the next stage to northern Africa. He was aged 40 and was never seen again.

Coincidently, Mokbel, who disappeared two weeks ago from South Melbourne, is also 40 years old. The Kooka Brothers guesstimate is that he took a light plane to Indonesia. From here, there are any number of flights to the Middle East; where a man of Middle-Eastern appearance and fluency in Arabic would not be noticed.

Of course we are presuming the bleeding obvious that his destination is his birthplace in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley where he could live comfortably surrounded by armed guards and carry on his global drug business. Conveniently, Lebanon does not have a formal extradition treaty with Australia.

But for someone of Mokbel’s wealth (he has already blown $1 million in bail money and $20 million in seized assets) the world is his oyster. He could well “do a Skase” and get himself a Dominican Republic passport to go with the false one he is travelling on at the moment.

Where does a 900lb gorilla sit? Anywhere it likes. Fat Tony is a 900lb gorilla.

Peter Fray

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