Former Merri-bek councilor Milad El-Halabi and his family face electoral fraud charges in court

Yildiz said the woman told him she saw a man knock on the door and searched the mailboxes of residents in the Glenroy area for ballots.

Yildiz said the woman approached the man, who told her he was doing it for Milad El-Halabi. Yildiz said he later reported this to the police and VEC.

Yildiz denied any longstanding animosity between him and El-Halabi.

He agreed that he and El-Halabi – two of 51 candidates in the election – had reached an agreement to favor each other fourth as part of a first deal.

But Yildiz denied calling El-Halabi an “idiot” and said “I’ll get you” when he learned he would be preferred at No. 10 instead.

“I never relied on Milad’s votes to win the election,” Yildiz said.

He also denied telling El-Halabi that he was “pushing” him after an agreement to ensure Yildiz later became mayor fell apart ten minutes before he prepared to deliver his mayoral acceptance speech.

Yildiz said he had no animosity towards El-Halabi, instead blaming councilor Annalivia Carli Hannan, who agreed to support him as mayor before reaching a last-minute deal with the Greens.

“I find that really offensive – I’ve never had a conversation like that with [El-Halabi]’ said Yildiz.

“My problem after that was with Annalivia. Nobody knew that we were taken by surprise. I’m still very angry.”

Forensic scientists analyzed 83 suspicious envelopes with ballot papers as part of the police investigation.

Detectives with the Financial Crime Squad charged Milad, Dianna and Tania El-Halabi each with more than 20 crimes in February 2022, including ballot forgery and tampering with postal ballot paperwork.

Police allege that between October 6 and October 24, 2020, the trio stole ballots from voters in Pascoe Vale, filled them dishonestly, and submitted them to the Electoral Commission.

The hearing continues Tuesday before a judge decides whether the case will go to trial.

The Morning Edition Newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Login here. Former Merri-bek councilor Milad El-Halabi and his family face electoral fraud charges in court

Justin Scacco

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