|Image source "The Daily Telegraph"|
Ian Hall Saxon was Australia's most wanted man in 1993 after he escaped in a van from Long Bay jail where he had been serving a hefty sentence for helping smuggle 10 tonnes of cannabis resin worth $77.5 million into the country.
Saxon - a former multi-millionaire rock promoter who brought some of the world's biggest acts to Australia in the 1980s - was finally caught and served 13 years of an original maximum 24- year sentence. Two weeks ago he was released six months early.
The Daily Telegraph has learned Standen - sacked two weeks ago as assistant director from the embattled NSW Crime Commission after being charged with allegedly conspiring to import chemicals to make $120 million worth of the drug ice - months earlier had written to authorities on Saxon's behalf, acting as a referee and alleging the criminal was "assisting" police.
Federal Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus confirmed he signed Saxon's release after being told the man - who had also been charged with drug offences in the US and jailed in Tahiti for smuggling cocaine - had "provided substantial assistance to authorities".
|Image source "The Age" 2008|
"I made the decision before I became aware of the serious allegations about Mark Standen," he said yesterday.
"If any criminal activity has taken place in relation to Standen's recommendation in this matter, the full force of the law will be applied."
Mr Debus said all documents relating to Saxon's release would be sent to NSW Police Minister David Campbell.
"It's unlikely the (parole) release can be revoked but the Government's looking at whether it is possible, if it's found corrupt information was provided."
Saxon, 65, is currently living with family in New Zealand.
An inquiry has also been launched into the prison release of another notorious criminal, James Henry Kinch, who was arrested four years ago for allegedly orchestrating a multi-million dollar ecstasy import for distribution in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
It is understood Standen also allegedly recommended Kinch be released, using the claim he was helping authorities, and days later he fled Australia and regrouped with a criminal cartel in Britain and the Netherlands.
He was arrested in Thailand two weeks ago and is currently awaiting extradition on the original drug charges and also conspiring with Standen to import drugs.
At least 12 other NSW court cases are set to be derailed, with prisoners citing questionable activity by Standen.
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