Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top policeman plotted to import drugs, jury told

Geesche Jacobsen March 17, 2011

MARK STANDEN, an experienced narcotics investigator, and two other men used coded messages saved as draft emails in hotmail accounts - with names such as ''tuckedupinbed'' and ''bkkshowgirls'' - to communicate about a plan to import 300 kilograms of pseudoephedrine, a jury has been told.

In these emails the men took on female personas and nicknames, talked about shopping, sunbaking and beauty salons, and referred to ''children'' when they meant the illegal substance, the prosecution alleges.

But Mr Standen's barrister told the Supreme Court jury such emails were ''part of a game'' or a distraction for the assistant director of the NSW Crime Commission's investigation unit.

It is alleged Mr Standen conspired with a businessman, Bakhos Jalalaty, and the drug dealer, money launderer and commission informer James Kinch to import the substance and divert the attention of authorities. He is also accused of taking part in the supply of 300 kilograms of the substance, which can be used to make the drugs speed or ice.

The barrister Mark Ierace, SC, said Mr Standen expected the shipment, which arrived in Sydney in April 2008, ''to contain only rice''. No pseudoephedrine was discovered in the shipment of 537 bags of rice from Pakistan, the Supreme Court heard.

Mr Standen will give evidence later in the trial and is expected to say he often took what Mr Jalalaty told him ''with a grain of salt'' and was sometimes ''humouring him'', Mr Ierace said.

He said Mr Standen wanted to leave his job as an assistant director at the NSW Crime Commission and enter ''legitimate business ventures'' with Mr Jalalaty.

Mr Standen was already helping Mr Jalalaty, who had a food supply business, and was paid money by him for his help, he said.

But the Crown prosecutor, Tim Game, SC, said Mr Standen had an important role in the plan because of his knowledge and was motivated by the ''desperate need for money'' because of ''overcommitment and excessive spending''.

Mr Standen was paid more than $100,000 from Mr Kinch through Mr Jalalaty, who received up to $1.7 million, the court heard. Mr Jalalaty had invested about $580,000 in an investment company that lost the money, Mr Game said.

He said Mr Jalalaty's legitimate business was a ''front'' for the importation and his role was to organise the documentation and handle the clearance of the goods.

Mr Kinch provided the link to a Dutch syndicate that would allegedly supply the substance.

Mr Kinch had charges of drug possession and dealing with proceeds of crime dropped after he forfeited about $900,000 to the Crime Commission in 2004.

But despite communicating with him by draft emails, Mr Standen told the commission in November 2007 that Mr Kinch was no longer an ''active informer''.

''He was not telling anything about his dealings with Mr Kinch because they were organising an importation,'' Mr Game said.

But Mr Ierace said they used the draft email system because Mr Kinch was concerned for his safety if his criminal associates found out he was communicating with Mr Standen.

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