Wednesday, April 6, 2011

'Ransom note' revealed at Standen trial

Margaret Scheikowski April 6, 2011 - 5:04PM

The drug plot trial of former crime fighter Mark Standen has been told of a "ransom note" demanding money for documents needed to release a Pakistani shipment.

"If I do not get the money quickly I can face big problem," the handwritten note said.

"So, please, take my request seriously and finish the problem as soon as possible."

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Standen, 54, has pleaded not guilty to conspiring with drug trafficker James Kinch and foodstuff businessman Bakhos "Bill" Jalalaty, between 2006 and 2008, to import pseudoephedrine, used to make the drugs speed and ice.

The former assistant director of investigations for the NSW Crime Commission also has denied taking part in the supply of 300kg of the substance and conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

The plot allegedly involved importing the pseudoephedrine in a container of rice from Pakistan.

But the NSW Supreme Court jury has been told the container, which arrived in Sydney on April 26, 2008, did not actually contain the banned substance.

On Wednesday, the jury continued to listen to numerous intercepted phone calls and read emails, faxes and other documents including an arrival notice for the six-metre container holding 18,158 kilos of rice in various-sized bags.

The jury heard phone calls between Jalalaty and officials who spoke of the need for the original Bill of Lading and other documents before the container could be released.

Australian Federal Police Sergeant Paul Watt told the jury that a search of Jalalaty's office revealed a document which the businessman is recorded as describing as a "ransom note".

The jury was read a text sent by Jalalaty on April 29 to a member of the Dutch syndicate said to be involved in the plot.

"We just opened the envelope and there are no originals but a demand to pay for wat (sic), I don't know," he texted.

"What the hell is going on?"

In a later phone call between the pair, Jalalaty said he had received copies of the documents, which were not legible, as well as a "ransom letter".

He reads out the letter which says: "Hello man, I am sending the photocopy of the document because 4 the original B/L I must pay the money to these people who cleared the matter for me".

It also said: "If you need the original then your side should pay".

In the phone call, Jalalaty asks the Dutch syndicate member who would have written the letter but he replies he did not know.

"I want to kill this man, I don't know who he is," Jalalaty said.

In another call on the same day, Jalalaty is told to destroy the note and is reassured that the relevant documents are being dealt with.

The trial is continuing before Justice Bruce James.

© 2011 AAP

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