The Aftermath

Lost in Congo: the Dutch connection 

By Geesche Jacobsen August 14, 2011

History of crime .. arms dealer Loek Weerden
Geesche Jacobsen
A DUTCH drug syndicate that worked with the former senior Crime Commission investigator Mark Standen has allegedly been involved in several other planned importations, including another case still before a Sydney court.

Before the planned importation of pseudoephedrine to Standen's business partner and hidden inside rice shipments from Pakistan, the syndicate was planning to export the substance to customers from the Congo.

There, a syndicate member allegedly dealt with a man who was ''the right-hand'' man and bookkeeper of President Joseph Kabila. The syndicate member Rene Asbeek Brusse told a Sydney court last year he had seen ''a white powder'' being re-packaged inside a luxurious house in Kinshasa, the capital of the once Belgian colony.

But the powder was never sent and the syndicate was blackmailed, Mr Asbeek Brusse told the court. ''It is still somewhere in a forest in Congo,'' he said.

The group then switched its activities to Pakistan, he told the court.

Standen's trial heard about the problems in arranging the shipment from Pakistan and heard that Standen's co-conspirator businessman Bill Jalalaty received a ransom note before vital shipping documents for the rice shipment supposed to contain the pseudoephedrine were released. Mr Asbeek Brusse is the only member of the syndicate to co-operate with police and give evidence.

He is one of several men convicted in the Netherlands over dealing in methamphetamine, pseudoephedrine, money laundering and firearms offences.

The syndicate's alleged leader, arms dealer Loek Weerden, was given an eight-year prison sentence. Most of the men are currently appealing their case.

The Dutch court also heard Mr Weerden had alleged links to cocaine transports from Venezuela and Mexican drug cartels.

A Dutch newspaper reported in May that Weerden - while awaiting his appeal from outside prison - was given approval by Dutch authorities to export parts of armoured vehicles to Egypt. These vehicles were reportedly used in attempts to crush demonstrators on Cairo's Tahrir Square in the last days of the reign of former president Hosni Mubarak, the paper reports.

Mr Asbeek Brusse has told the court he later fell out with the syndicate when he discovered a document certifying a substance had been analysed and was pseudoephedrine. Until then, he said, he did not know Mr Weerden was dealing with drugs.

This certificate, which he said he found on the bed of a blind man in Pakistan, was the evidence which allowed Australian authorities to charge Standen and Jalalaty with planning to import pseudoephedrine.


Let off the leash
Neil Mercer - August 14, 2011

AUTHORITIES knew in 2003 that the NSW Crime Commission investigator Mark Standen had been accused of fabricating evidence, but it appears no one bothered to do anything about it.

The allegation that Standen ''verballed'' a witness is just part of the fallout from his conviction last week for conspiracy to import an illegal substance, drug supply and conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the NSW Bar Association, Phillip Boulten, SC, called for a judicial inquiry to investigate Standen's dealings with informers and criminals. He said evidence suggested it was unlikely that what Standen did was an isolated incident.

A retired Supreme Court judge ''would be ideal'' because ''someone needs to check what Mark Standen has done.''

The verballing accusation was made to the Director of Public Prosecutions by a woman who was to give evidence against alleged British drug trafficker James Henry Kinch, who was arrested in Manly in March, 2003.

The case against Kinch fell apart after she told the DPP some of her statement was not true. Referred to specific words, she told the DPP: ''Mark put that in.''

Kinch not only got off drug charges, he became Standen's informer. The two men had contact more than 100 times in the following years, much of it undocumented by the investigator. Kinch is now in Thailand, fighting extradition to Australia, as one of Standen's co-accused.

Aside from that matter, The Sun-Herald has obtained a copy of a NSW Police report, by Strike Force Borlu, which raises more questions about the Crime Commission's willingness to do deals with wealthy criminals.

Operation Borlu, involving NSW Police and commission staff, looked at a syndicate linked to notorious trafficker Ian Saxon (1) who imported 10 tonnes of cannabis into Australia in 1989.
Standen arrested Saxon in 1990 for that importation.

The report says that by the mid-1990s Standen had Saxon's detailed records which revealed that a Castlecrag man ''distributed five tonnes of cannabis resin and returned just over $37 million to Saxon'' within months.

In 1996 the commission, led by Standen, targeted the man but not over the five tonnes because the case was considered too old. Eventually the man was charged over an unrelated matter, conspiracy to supply 180 kilograms of cannabis through a Sydney network. He pleaded guilty and helped the commission locate $1.2 million in an overseas bank account.

The man was sentenced to five years jail. His associates served shorter terms.
 Strike Force Borlu records that the Castlecrag man and his associates negotiated the financial settlements with the commission. The report, written in January, 1999, says: ''Overall it is estimated that in total $6 million dollars worth of settlements for this operation is expected.''

At least one member of the syndicate was given a letter of comfort by the commission, despite the fact he reneged on a deal to testify against his mates.

Strike Force Borlu also reported that $27,000 disappeared from an Artarmon garage while the syndicate was under surveillance. The report noted it could have been a chance break and enter or it could have been any member of the strike force or the crime commission ''that had knowledge of the existence of the garage and its contents.''

The accusation that Standen made up parts of a witness's statement flowed out of the arrest of Kinch on March 14, 2003, by a joint task force of NSW and Federal Police, and the crime commission.
A female associate picked up the same day agreed to give evidence against Kinch. She made a statement to investigators including Standen.

But in July that year, in a meeting with an officer from the DPP, the woman said that parts of her statement had been inserted by Standen.

''Prima facie, that is an allegation of corruption, it is an attempt to pervert the course of justice,'' a former senior police officer said yesterday.

''If that had been investigated at the time, we might not be in the position we are now.''
The woman also told the DPP other information she had passed on to police had been left out of her statement.

The DPP officer wrote in her notes: ''I said if she didn't agree with it she shouldn't sign things.
''[The woman] said she protested that wasn't what he said but they [the police] said 'don't worry about it' and she signed it anyway.''
The DPP informed Kinch's lawyers of what the woman had said, the case against him collapsed and he became Standen's informer.

The former DPP, Nicholas Cowdery, QC, said he had only a vague recollection of the Kinch case, but was ''quite confident'' the office, including the now Attorney-General, Greg Smith, had followed proper procedures.

with Geesche Jacobsen

The Standen Rat Pack

More on Ian Hall Saxon
Ref - article no longer online - Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday August 1, 1996 - Quote: The drugs had an estimated street value of $77.5 million and Saxon had acted with others in the US, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan to smuggle them to Australia.

NCA on trial: the witness who was rolled REPORTER, ROSS COULTHART: It was Australia's first-ever major investigation into the criminal secrets of offshore money laundering. It snared a villain whom the National Crime Authority had dubbed "Mr Big Enough", Ian Hall Saxon. And it led to the prosecution of many of his criminal associates for their role in a massive 10-tonne drug shipment worth about $77 million. Now one of the NCA's former senior officers is going public on behalf of the key witness who provided the breakthrough in that investigation - he's accusing the authority, Australia's premier crime-fighting body, of welshing on a promise it made to its informant.

"Operation Skippy" : Ref; Drug Dealer Assets Confiscation
Mr WHELAN: Honourable members might recall that Saxon imported into New South Wales a massive 10 tonnes of cannabis resin. This cannabis was sold through a network of dealers. Records obtained by police indicated the identity of some of those in the drug network. Saxon was arrested and charged with serious drug and money-laundering offences. At the time of his arrest $5.5 million in cash, together with a quantity of Krugerands, gold bars and hashish, was found in a Coogee garage rented by Saxon’s associates. Realising he faced a lengthy prison sentence, Saxon staged a daring escape from Long Bay Gaol while on remand in March 1993.

He lived hard and fast for three years: first-class travel, luxury and cash. In 1996 he was tracked down in California and extradited to Australia where he was sentenced to 24 years gaol. Although at that time there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute the entire chain of Saxon’s drug dealers, they did not escape notice. A joint task force was established under the New South Wales Crime Commission’s Gymea reference to investigate Christopher Hopwood, who had been connected with Saxon. That task force involved the New South Wales Police Service, the Australian Federal Police, the National Crime Authority, customs officers and police from Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria.



Standen suspected of a wider web
Geesche Jacobsen - August 15, 2011

DEALINGS between convicted former NSW Crime Commission assistant director and investigator Mark Standen and his co-conspirators may have gone a lot further than has been revealed, according to allegations known to authorities.

The commission was told Standen had asked food wholesaler Bill Jalalaty to hide $90 million in cash inside one of his meat exports more than two years before his arrest on drugs charges.

The money, Standen allegedly told Jalalaty, had belonged to a person - believed to be English drug dealer James Kinch - who needed to get the money out of Australia. The money was supposed to be shipped from Western Australia, possibly to Dubai.

Information received by the commission last year claims Jalalaty was allegedly offered a percentage of the money in return for his help, but it is understood this export never eventuated.

The approach is understood to have been made in early 2006, about the time Jalalaty first met Mr Kinch and was given $1 million in cash through an intermediary. It was also before Standen's and Jalalaty's phone calls and conversations were secretly recorded.

The matter was not raised during Standen's trial, which ended last week with his conviction for conspiring with Jalalaty and former informer Kinch to import a large quantity of pseudoephedrine, which can be used to make the drug ice.

It has also emerged that questions about Standen's work performance and actions were first raised inside the commission 10 years before his arrest.

In 1998, two years after he started working at the commission, Standen received a negative performance review by the commission's director and solicitor, John Giorgiutti, after ''grievances'' from members of his team.

From March 1998, Standen was supervised directly by the commissioner, Phillip Bradley.

At the end of an appraisal commenting on Standen's ''lack of performance'', Mr Giorgiutti wrote: ''I have been advised … that performance appraisals should be positive and accordingly, on a positive note, Mark Standen is a person who has potential.''

In April 1998, Mr Bradley also reviewed Standen's performance. In his review, he observed that ''Mark falls down in his organisational skills … his inability to meet deadlines, and the lack of requirements for documents to be produced, including reports to the ombudsman … and like matters.''

Standen was denied a bonus for the first two months of the year but Mr Bradley said his performance had improved and reinstated the bonus.

The jury in his trial heard Standen was bad at paperwork and had frequently failed to record informers' contact.

Mr Bradley said he had believed Standen and another assistant director of the commission, Tim O'Connor, would succeed Mr Bradley and Mr Giorgiutti. ''When he was employed at the commission he was told that he had three priority matters to attend to - they were 'supervision, supervision and supervision','' he wrote.

Mr Bradley had recruited Standen to the commission in 1996, when he was told nothing adverse was known about him.

The commission apparently became aware of an incident in May 1979 only when he admitted to flushing down a toilet 18 foils of cannabis seized during a raid after newspaper reports following his arrest in June 2008.

An ABC Four Corners program on the case tonight includes an interview with a Netherlands National Crime Squad official, Jan Boersma, who says an investigation into links between a Dutch syndicate and Standen had to be kept quiet for fear he would be tipped off by Dutch investigators.


Dutch police 'shattered' by Standen corruption case

ABC by Marian Wilkinson

New South Wales Crime Commission assistant director Mark Standen
Updated August 15, 2011 08:37:16
Dutch connection: Mark Standen
The head of the Dutch National Crime Squad has told the ABC he was shattered when he first discovered the former assistant director of the NSW Crime Commission was conspiring with traffickers linked to a Dutch drug syndicate.

Dutch police had worked with Mark Standen at the NSW Crime Commission and also with Australian Federal Police investigating Dutch drug syndicates trafficking to Australia.

On ABC Four Corners tonight, Commissioner Jan Boersma says it was "shattering news" when he was told Standen had been caught up in a conspiracy with one of the Amsterdam drug syndicates.

Dutch police originally tipped off the AFP that a key figure in the Dutch syndicate was in business with Sydney food wholesaler Bill Jalalaty.

Jalalaty turned out to be a close friend of Standen.

Commissioner Boersma says he was fearful the investigation into Standen would leak.
He says Dutch police decided they would only ever refer to Standen by the code name "Rupert".

A Sydney jury last week found Standen guilty of conspiring to import and supply 300 kilograms of pseudoephedrine and perverting the course of justice.

Prior to his conviction, Standen was the most influential drug investigator in NSW, thanks to his senior position at the secretive NSW Crime Commission.

The organisation is charged with targeting organised crime and drug trafficking.

Hundreds of intercepted phone calls, meetings and emails put into evidence in Standen's trial are examined in tonight's Four Corners program.

They reveal a far-reaching conspiracy from Amsterdam to Dubai, Bangkok and Sydney.

Standen's conviction has rocked police agencies around Australia and the world.

Four Corners has been told by law enforcement sources that further investigations are now underway into other allegations of corruption involving Standen and his relationship with criminal informants.

Standen spent 30 years as a criminal investigator in the former Narcotics Bureau, the federal police, the National Crime Authority and the NSW Crime Commission.

NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher told Four Corners accountability and governance issues at the NSW Crime Commission had been ignored for too long.

Last week he ordered a special commission of inquiry to address these.

But Mr Gallacher also expressed concern that there was what he called, "a turf war" between the NSW Crime Commission and its watchdog, the Police Integrity Commission, which is investigating allegations of misconduct against other crime commission officers.

Four Corners airs tonight on ABC1 at 8:30pm