Tony Mokbel’s accomplices who engineered his escape to Greece have failed in a bid to reduce their jail sentences.
The Victorian Court of Appeal this week ruled the eight-year sentences handed to Bassillios Pantazis, and brothers George Elias and Chafic Issa was not excessive for the crimes they committed in assisting Mokbel evade justice.
“This was an egregious example of perverting the course of justice of a kind that had not been witnessed before,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Warren.
“The level, and sustained nature, of the offending warranted the very substantial sentence that was imposed.”
Pantazis bought the yacht which took Mokbel to Greece after he skipped bail during his trial for importing cocaine.
Pantazis then hired Greek sailors to refit the boat and sail it from Fremantle. He also drove Mokbel from Victoria to Western Australia, taking along his wife’s sister, his step-daughter and her seven-month baby to create the illusion of a family holiday.
“Pantazis was part of a highly sophisticated and systematic attempt to pervert the course of justice by assisting Mokbel to flee the jurisdiction and permanently evade the process of law,” the Court of Appeal judges said.
George Elias and Chafic Issa provided the Bonnie Doon property where Mokbel hid for three months before fleeing Australia.
Elias had argued that he only helped in the operation to return a favour which Mokbel had done for his brother, but the appeal court found that this did not provide sufficient explanation for his extensive involvement in Mokbel’s trip across Australia and the preparation for the journey to Greece.
Mokbel was sentenced last month to 30 years in jail with a minimum term of 22 years for drug trafficking.
Three of Mokbel’s other associates – Mitat Rasimi, David Tricarico and Wayne Finn – also lost appeals against their sentences for trafficking and possessing drugs.