Clubs used for cocaine parties
Special gangster rooms
Prostitutes and criminals
A gang of wealthy criminals with links to mafia cocaine cartels has bought nightclubs in some of Australia's most popular tourist spots.
The nightclubs were used for cocaine parties and to house special gangster rooms providing drugs and prostitutes to local criminals, according to leaked Crime and Misconduct Commission documents.
The intelligence assessment, called Project Aurum, reveals that federal authorities failed to investigate the group's ringleader, who was suspected to have acquired substantial assets through cocaine importations that were linked to the Calabrian mafia.
Several of the men were able to buy into nightclubs on the Gold Coast despite having criminal records for drug offences, assault, weapons possession, tax evasion and fraud, says one of the documents, created in 2003.
One of the targets was recorded as snorting cocaine with a television celebrity who had a minor criminal record.
A CMC spokeswoman confirmed that the project was undertaken by the agency but said the commission could not discuss any operational details.
The intelligence assessment was based on surveillance reports, telephone records and tips from confidential informants and noted the suspects' high-flying lifestyle, substantial business interests in nightclubs and restaurants and extensive assets in property.
The group was recorded gambling thousands of dollars at the Reef Casino in Cairns, using high-priced callgirls on the Gold Coast and associating with senior members of some of Australia's most dangerous bikie gangsters.
At one establishment they frequented, the suspects were so notorious that their bar table became known as "the mafia table" and was where they held "white (cocaine) parties" with strippers in special "gangster" rooms.
The principle target was a southern businessman, who, four years earlier, had been recommended to federal authorities for investigation because of his substantial assets and connection to cocaine importations.
The same businessman had links to criminals who worked with the Calabrian mafia to bring in more than $30 million in cocaine hidden in stone blocks in 1999 and 2000.
(Credit: News Limited, Wires, AP, Australian Federal Police, Google News)
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