Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ice after the rice deal plot, court told

On tape: Mark Standen at the Downing Central Court. Picture: Frank Violi Source: The Daily Telegraph

Lisa Davies From: The Daily Telegraph March 23, 2011 12:00AM

WITH a hot chocolate each and Mark Standen's bugged mobile phone on the table between them, the former top investigator and his businessman mate discuss a crucial -- and imminent -- arrival.

A 17-tonne shipment of rice is en route to Sydney but the pair talk about more than just that, the Supreme Court was told yesterday.

The Crown alleged Standen and foodstuffs businessman Bakhos "Bill" Jalalaty are trouble-shooting the arrival of the rice as it is a "dry run" for a second shipment, one that will contain up to 300kg of pseudo-

ephedrine -- a precursor used to make the drugs speed and ice.

Standen, the Supreme Court jury has heard, was in law enforcement for 30 years.

Standen has denied any role in the drug importation plot, his lawyer telling the court last week he believed the shipments were only ever to contain rice.

In conversations played to the jury yesterday, Shortly after the pair meet on Saturday morning September 15, Jalalaty raises the first problem -- the invoice for the rice is from a company called Elegant Hosiery.

"I'm not sure but . . . how long would that, how long would it take for someone to say what the f. . ., what's Elegant Hosiery doing selling rice?" he asks Standen.

"All sorts of companies do all sorts of stuff," Standen replied.

Jalalaty said there was talk of expansion into Panama and a member of the overseas syndicate discussed going there to import "jam".

Standen warns him to be careful, saying Customs officers look out for certain things when deciding whether to inspect shipping containers. "They're totally different . . . I mean the Customs guys, if that were from Panama they'd be going 'Hmmm, get some rice from Pakistan' . . . you know, it's apples and oranges," he said.

He says "quarantine [officers] are panicking at the moment after the horse flu" and Customs will look for "wrong described goods, um, under-valued goods, um prohibited goods of any sort including drugs like anything prohibited . . . but they . . . are unlikely to open it, they might just X-ray [it]."

He warns Jalalaty not to seek too much information: "I think it's better not to know -- I think I'd want to know nothing."

The pair use covert email accounts to communicate with overseas syndicate members and Standen warns Jalalaty: "If anything ever went wrong your computer ought to go for a swim." The case continues.

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