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    A man who was granted bail for proceeds of crime charges has disappeared after cutting off his ankle monitor.

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      proceeds of crime charges

      Man Granted Bail for Proceeds of Crime Charges Disappears

      A man who was granted bail for proceeds of crime charges has disappeared after cutting off his ankle monitor.

      Mostafa Baluch is accused of masterminding a 900kg cocaine shipment into Australia.

      However, he was granted bail when he agreed to forfeit his $4million property and wear an ankle monitor.

      Police described him as “dangerous” and urged the public not to approach him.

      Proceeds of Crime Charges

      Mostafa Baluch is the son of Afghan immigrant parents, who launched a successful restaurant business in Sydney’s northern beaches. Baluch himself owned the Cervo restaurant in Northbridge before it was closed several years ago.

      Police said when they raided his home on 3 June 2021, they found A$62,700 in cash, four mobile phones, US$12,000 and steroids. They also found a small amount of cocaine for which he was charged with drug possession.

      The 33-year-old was initially arrested at his waterfront Bayview mansion in June 2021.

      Mostafa Baluch was initially bail refused. However, later that month police laid further charges relating to a scheme to import 900kg of cocaine into Sydney.

      The Northern Beaches resident was rearrested in prison, accused of financing that $270 million shipment.

      Baluch has been charged with conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug, supply prohibited drug, dealing with the proceeds of crime, and possessing anabolic steroids, amongst other offenses.

      Sting Operation Catches Co-Accused

      Baluch was the fourth suspect arrested in the investigation. The group came undone when an alleged member of the gang, Mende Rajkoski, was observed gambling around US$77 million in one week at the Star Casino in Sydney.

      After examining Rajkoski’s finances police said they found, “a significant transnational organised crime syndicate.”

      In October 2020 the US Navy intercepted two boats off the coast of Colombia carrying 870 kilograms of cocaine. In April 2021, the US Coast Guard seized a further 900 kilos from a boat off the coast of Ecuador.

      Following this Australian police set up a sting operation. A replica of the haul was built which was delivered to a storage facility in Sydney. Rajkoski attended the facility and attempted to collect what he thought was the drug shipment. It was here that he was arrested.

      Two accomplices, Nikolao Misa, 37, and Gjelosh Nikollaj, 58, were detained shortly afterward.

      Granted Bail for Proceeds of Crime Charges

      On 21 October 2021 Mostafa Baluch made a successful bail application at Central Local Court.

      In support of the application, he forfeited his $4million property and agreed to wear an electronic monitoring anklet.

      Concern for the Public

      Organised Crime Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Rob Critchlow expressed concern for the community when revealing that Baluch had cut off his ankle monitor and absconded.

      “To cut the bracelet off your ankle which has been imposed by the court shows a very serious intent to flee…By the time we responded – which was very very quickly – he was nowhere to be seen.”

      Police labelled him a “a very dangerous offender” and said any member of the public who sees him should call police immediately.

      “This person is a dangerous man they should not approach him if they see him. He has a very serious criminal history and we’re concerned for the public that this man is at large.”

      Mostafa Baluch Breach of Bail

      A warrant for Mostafa Baluch’s arrest was issued after police were alerted to his breach of bail.

      Between 6pm and 10pm, his ankle monitor placed him at his family’s restaurant Lucky and Peps in Newport. However, at 10.28pm the signal went dead, which suggested that the device had been cut off.

      It was found on Cabbage Tree Road outside Bayview Golf Course.

      Police revealed that Baluch was last seen on Pittwater Road in Bayview at approximately 10.40pm. Detectives believe he could be travelling in this 2019 Mercedes with the registration EJ V5 9H.

      Police believe the former restaurateur suspected he was about to be taken back into custody, which is why he fled.

      Detective Superintendent Critchlow told media outlets that Baluch’s family was cooperating. However, police are concerned that he has access to large amounts of money – reflected in the proceeds of crime charges – as well as links to other figures who may be helping him hide.

      Baluch is described as being of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern appearance, about 180cm tall, of a muscular build, with black hair, brown eyes and unshaven.

      Bail Application Lawyers

      Bail is a form of conditional liberty which is granted to a defendant when they are charged with a serious offence.

      After bail application lawyers make a successful release application, a person can remain on bail for the amount of time that their case is proceeding before the Court.

      There are two ways in which you can be granted bail. Firstly, Police can grant a person bail. Secondly, the Court can grant a person bail.

      Police can grant you bail and impose bail conditions on you. If you believe the conditions are too harsh, or they restrict you from working, an experienced bail lawyer can apply to have these conditions varied at Court. 

      In some cases, criminal lawyers for bail applications can ask the court to ‘dispense with bail’, which means to eliminate bail completely. However, this is rare for proceeds of crime charges.

      If you are not granted bail by Police, then you will be brought before a Court “as soon as is practicable” and given the opportunity to make a bail application (ie. that day or the next morning).

      In determining whether to grant you bail, the Court must determine whether there are any ‘bail concerns’ present.

      Under Section 17 of the Bail Act 2013 (NSW), a bail concern is a ‘concern’ that if you are granted bail, you will:

      1. Fail to appear at any future Court proceedings, or
      2. Commit a serious offence, or
      3. Endanger the safety of victims, individuals or the community, or
      4. Interfere with witnesses or evidence

      Section 18 of the Bail Act sets out the factors that are taken into account when determining whether any ‘bail concerns’.

      You can view some recent examples of bail applications here. An accredited specialist criminal lawyer will be able to advise how to have the best chance making a successful bail application. You can contact Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823 or email us at info@astorlegal.com.au.

      Breaching your bail conditions is treated very seriously by Police and the Courts. Police do have the power to arrest you for a breach of bail.

      However, if the breach is minor, or due to an honest mistake (such as forgetting to report on a particular day), an experienced lawyer can often speak to Police and have them either take no action or issue you with a warning. 

      If you are brought before the Court for a breach of bail, the Court can:

      1. take no action and release you; or
      2. impose further bail conditions and release you; or
      3. revoke your bail.

      If you breach bail by failing to appear in Court, the maximum penalty will be the same as the maximum penalty for the offence for which bail was granted.

      This is however limited to 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $3,300.

      If one of your bail conditions is that a surety has given (or agreed to give) an amount of money to the Court, the Court can order that this amount be forfeited.

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