Foula Pantazis, a cleaner of northern suburb Reservoir and the woman who allegedly assisted Tony Mokbel flee to Greece, will face a retrial next week, after Victoria’s Supreme Court judge Justice Simon Whelan aborted the original trial that began on June 6.
The court heard that new evidence had become available and needed to be assessed fully by the prosecution and Mrs Pantazis. Pantazis was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice while Mokbel was in hiding during 2006 and 2007. Prosecutor Fran Dalziel told the court last week that Pantazis travelled to Greece regularly to make arrangements for Mokbel’s arrival, had met with him in an Athens hotel in June 2007, and was alongside the self-confessed drug-baron on the day of his arrest.
The prosecution said Mrs Pantazis “received and dealt with large amounts of money” from drug trafficking during her visits to Greece. Last week the jury also heard that Mrs Pantazis’ husband also played the key role in buying, modifying and finding crew for a luxury $323,000 yacht called Edwina, that took Mokbel to Greece after he fled from Melbourne in March 2006.
The prosecutor said the couple allegedly helped Mokbel while he lived as a fugitve in Athens, funded by the proceeds of his drug racketeering.
“All of that was done so Mr Mokbel could avoid apprehension and imprisonment,” Ms Dalziel told the jury.
Mokbel was arrested in the Athens suburb of Glyfada in 2007, before being extradited to Australia to face murder and drug charges. He was later acquitted of the murder of Melbourne gangland patriarch Lewis Moran, but pleaded guilty to importing “commercial quantities” of drugs. Pantazis pleaded not guilty last week to the charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Pantazis’ lawyer told the court that the case against her is based on misconceptions and innuendo.