Today’s Birthday, August 11: Tony Mokbel, notorious Australian criminal, (1965 – ).
Drug kingpin Tony Mokbel has applied to challenge his drug trafficking conviction after revelations he was a client of Lawyer X, barrister-turned-informer Nicola Gobbo.
Victoria Police has been told to make the high profile crook a priority as it searches through thousands of documents relating to tips they received from Ms Gobbo.
The Court of Appeal is considering Mokbel’s application, along with a few other cases that bear directly on public confidence in the criminal justice system.
The legal system was rocked and the country was gripped by the Lawyer X, or ‘Informer 3838’ scandal, which was made public earlier this year.
Mokbel hit the headlines after news broke in January that his former lawyer had acted as a police informer, dishing dirt to detectives to help secure convictions.
The news rocked the legal system and gripped the nation.
Born Antonios Sajih Mokbel in Kuwait to Lebanese parents in 1965, Mokbel’s family migrated to Australia when he was eight.
He grew up in poverty in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
As a teenager, Mokbel started out at his brother’s pizza shop but within six years became the head of a multi-million dollar drug empire.
While on trial in 2006 over the importation of 2kg of cocaine from Mexico to Melbourne, he disappeared.
He stayed on the run in rural Bonnie Doon in Victoria for eight months before driving to Western Australia and fleeing on a yacht via the Suez Canal to Greece where he arrived on Christmas Eve, 2006.
The following year, Mokbel was captured at a cafe in Athens, Greece and landed in Melbourne Airport in May, 2008, where he was immediately taken to prison.
In 2012, he was sentenced to a 30-year jail term for drug crimes, with a minimum of at least 22 years before being eligible for parole.
The 54-year-old was attacked in Victoria’s maximum security Barwon Prison by two fellow inmates in February, leaving him fighting for life.
He was stabbed a day after News Corp Australia ran a story headlined “Tony the enforcer” about Mokbel’s rise as a “feared prison big-wig”.
He has since returned to prison where he continues efforts to challenge his conviction.