Moradian brought back at least 40 kilograms of the horse-stamped packages, although the actual amount was said to be far higher. With the proceeds of his loot, he conjured up a vision of Italian luxury in Sydney’s Hills District, as described by Michael Duffy in the book herald.
In every room of Moradian’s West Pennant Hills mansion, sweeping gold trim entwines gleaming black wood and metal, from the mantelpiece to the hearth.
Cloaked figures held ornate candelabras atop their heads like giant crowns and stood at an elegant black dining table surrounded by $50,000 chairs.
Even the shower curtains and duvet covers have been removed in favor of the plush Versace print.
And in the living room, Moradian looked up from the thick black couch and watched the denizens of heaven; Trumpeting angels and halo figures unfurl across the ceiling in a $40,000 mural inspired by the Sistine Chapel.
Michael Chard, the Versace salesman who facilitated the luxurious renovation of Moradian’s Pennant Hills palazzo, believed his client was born in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Here was a man, he said, with the tastes and desires of a man from 16th-century Italy.
In July 2007, Moradian was 32 and contemplating buying an $850,000 Versace-style Lamborghini when police arrested him after a six-month investigation that included one of the largest arrests for cocaine and money laundering crimes in the US history of NSW.
They arrested ten people and seized $18 million in cash, $3.5 million in assets, two kilograms of high-grade cocaine and the gold-plated pistol, marking the symbolic and literal end of the empire.
In addition to the $10 million found in Peisley’s Wollongong home, police dug $2.7 million worth of $50 and $100 bills from the foundations of a home at Northern as part of the raid Beaches in Bilgola.
The police stole even more money from the syndicate by tricking Natasha. They pretended to be corrupt and promised to take Moradian out of the country for a price. Natasha turned herself in – and $760,000 worth of cash stashed in garbage bags – directly to the police.
She was sentenced to a maximum of four years and six months in prison in 2011 after pleading guilty to handling $4.6 million in cash earned from the drug ring. The Daily Telegraph reported.
Boats, jet skis, stun guns, and motorcycles were also confiscated, and firearms, including submachine guns and a grenade launcher, emerged from the gleaming caverns of Moradian’s mansion.
The handover of Moradian’s arsenal – in exchange for a 5 per cent reduction in his sentence – was tantamount to “the most significant arms handover since the Prime Minister”. [John Howard] “Has his gun amnestied,” according to the drug kingpin’s attorney.
Moradian was sentenced to a maximum of 16 years and nine months in prison for importing and supplying cocaine. But the golden gun had not stopped firing.
Husband Maika, a 38-year-old father, was shot at on his way home from TAFE in south-west Sydney in 2011. He was killed before he could testify in an ongoing trial against the syndicate.
Police have accused Moradian’s partner Luke Sparos – his “Fathead’s” “Fatboy” – of orchestrating the attack behind the bars of Lithgow Prison. Sparos pleaded not guilty and was later acquitted.
Comments by Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty after Moradian’s killing on Tuesday suggest the 48-year-old has not left his life of crime after his own lengthy prison sentence.
“He’s a high-level criminal identity…he’s a major player in the organized crime network and also has ties to the high-level Comanchero OMCG (outlaw motorcycle gang),” he said.
“He obviously had a big purpose behind him.”
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