|Antonios Sajih Mokbel|
|Born||8 August 1965
|Penalty||12 years imprisonment|
Antonios Sajih 'Tony' Mokbel (b. 8 August 1965) is a criminal and a convicted drug trafficker from Melbourne, Australia, who was a fugitive until his recapture in Athens, Greece on 5 June 2007. He is of Lebanese descent and born in Kuwait. Detectives from Operation Purana allege that he is the mastermind behind the Melbourne amphetamines trade. He has been linked to Carl Williams, as well as the killing of several victims of the Melbourne gangland war. He disappeared from Melbourne while on trial in March 2006, and was arrested by Greek police in Athens, Greece on 5 June 2007. Prior to his arrest, there was a $1 million bounty for information leading to his capture. According to Victoria Police, this reward still stands for the person who tipped off the police on his whereabouts.. In the drama series Underbelly Tony Mokbel is played by actor Robert Mammone.
It has been alleged that in late 2002 there was a meeting of more than 10 organised criminals in Carlton. At that meeting it is said that Mokbel was nearly beaten to death by Nik 'The Russian' Radev's bodyguard, West Australian Coffin Cheater Ali Elhouli. Andrew 'Benji' Veniamin was ordered by his then close associate, Dominic 'Mick' Gatto, to take Mokbel to a friendly doctor. In the following couple of weeks Mick Gatto was told that Veniamin and Mokbel became close allies. Radev was the next underworld identity to perish.
He was reported to have paid convicted murderers, Keith Faure and Evangelos Goussis, $150,000 for the murder of Lewis Moran, the 23rd victim of the Melbourne gangland killings. Mokbel has been investigated by Operation Purana.
He has also been charged with the murder of drug syndicate patriarch Lewis Moran, who was gunned down in 2004 in the front bar of the Brunswick Club in Sydney Road, Brunswick.
Mokbel is also alleged to have laundered over $2 million via a high-profile Melbourne CBD brothel which he purchased through a business associate. One of Mokbel's amphetamine producers also ran a brothel in the Melbourne south eastern suburbs whilst another Mokbel gang member who trafficked large amounts of drugs for Mokbel also ran a brothel.
On 6 June 2007, it was announced by Greek hoplites that Mokbel had been arrested while drinking hot chocolate in an Athens cafe. He was wearing an "Armani" wig when they captured him. Authorities have reported Mr Mokbel had bitten one of the Greek hoplites as he was being put in cuffs
Mokbel made every effort to avoid extradition to Australia. He has unsuccessfully made applications in Australia to cancel the Australian extradition attempt.
Lebanese authorities have foreshadowed making their own extradition request to the Greek courts. It is not known how Mokbel could have committed any significant crime that could be tried in or on behalf of Lebanon.
Greek authorities have indicated the serious nature of the charges to be faced in Australia would see extradition to Australia take priority over Greek prosecution of lesser fraud and corruption charges.
On 18 March 2008, the Supreme Court in Athens granted Australia's request for his extradition. The Greek justice minister approval was obtained May 2008.
On 17 May 2008, Mokbel arrived in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, at Tullamarine Airport in a chartered Gulfstream jet along with 8 security personnel. The cost of the flight drew some criticism, costing the state $450,000, though the Victorian state intends to regain the costs from Mokbel's criminal earnings.
He is currently imprisoned while on trial in the Victorian Supreme Court. The hearings are taking place at the County Court of Victoria complex to allow for increased security and media presence.