High-profile drug lords during Melbourne’s infamous underworld war hid their dirty money in plain sight of police.
For the first time, the true extent of rampant money laundering can finally be revealed after a statement from a gangland snitch was obtained by Daily Mail Australia.
The statement reveals everything from dodgy car sales to rogue TAB attendants were used to ‘wash’ the dirty cash of the city’s crime lords during the infamous underworld war.
The man’s confession to gangland detectives in 2006 implicated Melbourne’s biggest drug dealers and killers and helped police end what will forever be known as the Underbelly War after the hit television portrayal.
Tony Mokbel was rolling in cash and bought farms in Wallan and Kilmore, where he built a horse racing track.
The snitch, who can only be referred to as Witness B, had been a low-level drug dealer in 1992 before climbing the criminal ladder to work alongside drug lords Tony Mokbel and Carl Williams.
The once trusted lieutenant knew the ins and outs of Melbourne’s seedy underbelly and only turned snitch after being convinced to do so by rogue lawyer Informer 3838.
The controversial lawyer’s antics as a police informer this month saw a royal commission launched in Victoria to investigate whether her involvement as a rat prejudiced criminal trials, including that of Fat Tony Mokbel himself.
Witness B said he would often ‘wash money’ for dead Melbourne criminal Carl Williams’ dad George Williams and in return provide him with cheques.
While buying cars with pounds of speed and selling them for cash was a good way to do it, George had a few decent ideas of his own, Witness B told police.
One such method used by George saw him use a dodgy attendant at his local TAB outlet.
Witness B said George would leave bag loads of his drug cash with the attendant, who would then pay out legitimate winners using George’s cash.
‘When a winning ticket was produced, the winnings would be pad from the Williams’s pool. The winning ticket would then be handed to George Williams to make a legitimate entry at a TAB later,’ he said.
George would then lob into a TAB with two or three winning tickets and claim a cheque.
‘The money was then clean,’ Witness B said.
The rampant drug activity between Melbourne’s drug lords saw properties and businesses bought and sold with pounds of speed.
Police have continued to target the drug dealers in all the years since the bloody underworld war claimed 36 lives, recently seizing the homes and properties of Calabrian Mafia don Rocco Arico.
Arico was fortunate to have survived the gangland war after being locked up for most of it after he riddled a stranger with bullets during an insane road rage attack.
George Williams in 2004 outside the County Court
Calabrian Mafia don Rocco Arico survived the Gangland War but was eventually jailed again
Last week, the last stone standing of Carl Williams’ crime empire was sold-off by authorities.
Roberta Williams – the ex-wife of Carl – this month lost her bid to retain George’s old house, which was seized by the tax office and sold.
Witness B said Mokbel would launder his money through property and an upmarket brothel in the CBD.
He believed the gangster may have laundered $2 million through the brothel.
Often hundreds of thousands of dollars would be handed to Mokbel in cash ‘under the table’ in property deals.
He bought shops and businesses and sent money overseas to Lebanon.
To the untrained eye, Fat Tony simply owned a successful pizza shop in Boronia.
He also worked a while in a Brunswick cafe he owned.
‘But Tony would only be hands on for a couple of months and then he would walk away,’ Witness B said. ‘Tony’s wealth came from his selling of drugs.’
Tony bought and sold the Brunswick Market and owned a fancy chain of clothes shops.
He even part owned an oil company, which had secured government funding.
The goons would go to extreme lengths to cover their tracks, wrapping blocks of speed in newspaper so as not to leave finger prints.
Witness B said he started out his life of crime operating hydroponic shops in Brunswick – an inner city suburb just four clicks out of Melbourne.
Roberta Williams had fought to save the home Witness B claimed was bought with drug money
The ex-wife of Carl Williams, Roberta Williams (left) arrives at court with daughter Dhakota
At the height of his drug dealing days, Witness B was brazenly carrying drugs around the country on domestic planes.
On one occasion police nabbed him at the airport just after he’d placed eight ounces of speed on the carousel and with 2000 pills shoved down his pants.
They told him he was going to be whacked, but released him without finding the drugs.
The Underworld money washing machine
Carl Williams and his dad George would invest drug money in property
George Williams used rogue TAB attendants to clean money in exchange for winning tickets
Tony Mokbel bought shops, businesses and even part owned an oil company
Mokbel allegedly washed $2 million through an upmarket CBD brothel
Crime lord Rocco Arico ran a drug empire that saw him buy properties all over Melbourne
Arico later claimed he simply had a lot of luck at the track
Witness B claimed he got into the big time drug dealing game when Milad Mokbel approached him looking for dope.
The pair became good mates and Witness B would go to Mokbel’s mum’s house for Sunday lunch.
Milad – the brother of Tony Mokbel and Horty – was known to be able to sell 35 pounds of ‘skunk’ in a day-and-a-half.
Witness B would sell his gear for about $4500 a pound, which Milad would get on credit until he sold the weed.
He’d hand over the product two door’s down from Milad’s mum’s Canberra St home.
The men would meet at the Grove Cafe down the road where many of Melbourne’s drug deals were born.
Tony Mokbel’s ex Danielle McGuire met him overseas after he fled the country
Tony Mokbel owned an exclusive city brothel where he allegedly washed drug money
In 1996 – two years before Alphonse Gangitano would be shot dead in the laundry of his Templestowe home – Witness B got involved in the speed business.
Methylamphetamine – the scourge that would wreak havoc across the country – was still years from becoming the go-to drug for Melbourne’s dregs.
Speed was the chosen drug of Tony and Horty, so when Milad started to get in on the act he wanted to keep it a secret from his siblings, Witness B stated.
Tony had not wanted his little brother to get involved in the more dangerous ‘speed game’.
How Witness B helped end the Underworld War
In 2006, Witness B made a long statement outlining Melbourne’s seedy underbelly
He implicated Carl Williams, his father George, the Mokbel brothers and a who’s who of Melbourne crooks
Witness B was turned by rogue lawyer Informer 3838
The witness spent time in jail for his crimes and continues to live in fear
Witness B provided meticulous details on how criminals ‘washed’ their money through legitimate means
Milad’s first venture into speed dealing didn’t go well.
His mate ‘Nutcase’ – a wannabe chemist – had cut the speed poorly and their Perth clients demanded more than $300,000 back.
Witness B unwisely agreed to help sell the pinky, red product in Melbourne for $27,000 a pound.
The gear literally stank.
He poured the rest down the drain, but by then he was hooked.
Tony Mokbel was rolling in cash and bought farms in Wallan and Kilmore, where he built a horse racing track.
It was as if Tony was mocking police – naming his horses ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘My Cook’.
So when Tony came knocking on Witness B’s door, it was with an offer he could not refuse.
Fat Tony was Walter White decades before the fictional drug cook hit the screens on tv’s Breaking Bad.
While White cooked up blue meth, Tony’s was yellow speed.
To be fair, Mokbel was more like White’s original boss Gustavo Fring, because his cook ‘Paul’ was the real genius.
Instead of mixing it with phenyl, Paul had the idea to cut his speed with pseudo.
The stuff was dynamite.
At the Grove Cafe Tony handed over four ounces from the back of his car and suggested Witness B not sell it for anything under $2500 an ounce otherwise ‘I would be robbing myself’.
Witness B cleaned up, but Fat Tony refused to accept payment.
The pair struck a deal where Witness B would pay Mokbel $55,000 a pound and he’d make $5000 on top.
Witness B would get a month’s worth of credit and if the cops caught his dealers, Tony would accept the losses.
It was around this time that a young Carl Williams was making his name in the speed business.
Williams was also buying off Mokbel and his cook, who meticulously wrapped pounds of speed in newspaper.
Mokbel’s speed took Melbourne by storm and no-one wanted anything else.
That’s when Paul’s clandestine lab in Brunswick exploded.
Witness B reckons the cook made his way to Mokbel’s mum’s house before stripping off and being driven to hospital.
Renata Mokbel (left), sister-in-law of Tony Mokbel and Danielle McGuire leave court in Melbourne in 2006 after Fat Tony did a runner
Carl Williams made millions dealing speed across the country
Word got around that four 25kg tubs of pseudo went up in smoke.
At least one tub had belonged to the to the Moran brothers, who would later die on the orders of Williams.
Witness B thought it was no wonder the brothers didn’t make it – they sold crap speed.
The cook reckoned it was Mokbel himself who was cooking the speed when the lab exploded.
‘Tony had left him there and ran off,’ he said.
Ever the opportunist, Tony had seen fortune in the explosion.
Weeks later he told Witness B he had a load of his pseudo speed to offload – but it needed to be sold interstate and kept ‘hush hush’.
Mokbel would deliver the gear himself from the back of his white Statesman.
But with his cook in hospital, it wasn’t long before the buyers in Perth complained the product had been ‘jumped on’.
Williams had been selling the gear too.
The men complained and Tony gave them a discount – he had ripped the gear off anyway from the lab that exploded.
Williams made a fortune dealing speed to Perth.
By 1997 Witness B was a raging ‘coke head’, with Williams supplying the dope.
When Witness B brought a van full of drugs to Mokbel, he had no idea the gear had been stolen from the Drug Squad itself.
At the end of the 90s, Witness B tried to clean himself up, but he soon started dealing cocaine and ecstasy in the Gold Coast.
Roberta Williams verbals her ex-husband’s pen friend Renata Laureano (centre) as she arrives at the County Court in 2007 during Carl Williams’ murder trial.
Williams would provide the gear and business boomed.
The Queenslanders couldn’t get enough of Williams’ pills.
Witness B would fly them up shoved down his pants.
He would later bring his pill making skills back to Melbourne where he and Williams started pressing ‘dog tablets’ – a mix of ketamine and pseudo.
They first tested the product on a mate, who within five minutes fell into a paralysed state and could only mumble.
‘I thought I had killed him,’ Witness B said.
With the mix perfected, production started in Queensland with the help of bikies and the product transported back to Victoria.
Soon enough, they were punching pills in Williams’ backyard, with his dad George running the press.
The ‘UFO’ and ‘FUBU’ pills sold in the thousands.
Williams began undercutting his old pal Mokbel and the Morans – selling his pills for as little as $8 a pop.
But when the cops caught up with him, he and his dad spent a couple of months in jail and they confiscated the press.
Imported Es flooded the market, brought in by Milad.
It was around this time that Dino Dibra was murdered outside his Krambruk Street home in Sunshine West.
He had been carrying Witness B’s pills.
When Williams got out of jail he went straight back into production.
He immediately upset Nick ‘The Russian’ Radev with a dodgy batch of pills.
But the pair went into the speed business anyway.
Radev was shot and killed in Queen St, Coburg in 2003.
In all, Witness B claimed he’d bought more than 400,000 pills from Tony Mokbel.
He estimated the drug lord would have made more than $100,000 million from the drug trade and Williams and his dad at least $15 million.
While Mokbel lived out the gangland war, he was jailed in 2012 for 30 years after fleeing the country.
Williams was murdered in jail in 2010 while serving a 35 year sentence over three gangland murders.