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Ibrahim arrests: Eastern suburbs limo driver implicated in organised crime plot

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 12/08/2017 Rachel Olding
Michael Ibrahim was allegedly chauffeured around Sydney in a BMW while he arranged drug importation deals. © Facebook Michael Ibrahim was allegedly chauffeured around Sydney in a BMW while he arranged drug importation deals.

When Michael Ibrahim was travelling around Sydney, allegedly organising drug importations and handing over millions of dollars in cash, he chose to travel in style.

An eastern suburbs limousine driver has been identified as one of Mr Ibrahim's chauffeurs who ferried the 39-year-old around town in a grey BMW.

However, police allege Kingsley Conomos, 42, was more than just a taxi service, naming him as one of 22 persons of interest in a year-long investigation into a billion-dollar organised crime ring. Mr Conomos has not been charged. 

Eighteen people were arrested and charged last week as police smashed two interlinked crime syndicates operating across Australia, Dubai and the Netherlands over importing more than 1.9 tonnes of MDMA, ice and cocaine, as well as cigarettes.

Police allege Michael Ibrahim facilitated several importations, working for two rival drug syndicates helmed by the warring Ahmad and Elmir families.

Kingsley Conomos was observed at a meeting at the Sackville Hotel on July 24. He has not been charged. © Supplied Kingsley Conomos was observed at a meeting at the Sackville Hotel on July 24. He has not been charged. With the help of Rose Bay real estate agent and close Ibrahim family friend Ryan Watsford, he also allegedly imported millions of illegal cigarette packets from Dubai.

It's understood Mr Conomos was brought into the fold thanks to his old boy connections from Cranbrook, the exclusive private boys school in Bellevue Hill.

The school's alumni have become a regular fixture in Sydney drug raids. Mr Watsford, who is allegedly firmly at the centre of the Ibrahim sting, is also an old boy.

He has remained close with schoolmate Richard Lipton, one of 15 men arrested in raids at the Sydney Fish Market on Christmas Day last year relating to the largest cocaine ring bust in Australian history.

John Ibrahim, his business partner Margaret Staltaro, Mick Ibrahim and Daniel Ibrahim on a recent lunch. John and Margaret have not been charged. © Supplied John Ibrahim, his business partner Margaret Staltaro, Mick Ibrahim and Daniel Ibrahim on a recent lunch. John and Margaret have not been charged. In a statement tendered in court during bail applications for three men last week, police alleged that Mr Conomos assisted in the "supply, transport and distribution of smuggled tobacco to various purchasers throughout Sydney".

Police surveillance observed him at a meeting at the Sackville Hotel on July 24 with Michael Ibrahim, Daniel Ibrahim and a man who is now a police witness known as MW1.

Kingsley Conomos, pictured at Cranbrook for a reunion in 2013, allegedly assisted in the supply, transport and distribution of smuggled tobacco. © Supplied Kingsley Conomos, pictured at Cranbrook for a reunion in 2013, allegedly assisted in the supply, transport and distribution of smuggled tobacco. Daniel Ibrahim arrived at the meeting and, together with Michael, allegedly transferred a suitcase and tool bag containing $2.25 million cash to MW1 to pay for a shipment of illegal cigarettes, police said.

Michael Ibrahim was also observed calling Mr Conomos to ask if he could assist with driving him and his associate around to conduct business. 

Police search John Ibrahim's clifftop home in Dover Heights on Tuesday. © Janie Barrett Police search John Ibrahim's clifftop home in Dover Heights on Tuesday. The allegations will only add to Mr Conomos' woes. Both his chauffeur limousine businesses went into receivership recently and at least one car was possessed by the bank.

An exasperated woman who lives in a Woollahra unit that he still lists on business records told Fairfax Media that she often has debt collectors knocking on her door. 

Fairfax Media spoke to one former associate who knew of at least half a dozen people owed money by Mr Conomos.

He said the limo driver would always have two or three prepaid phones on the go that he would regularly dispose of.

"He comes from a good family so he's a bit of a black sheep I'm afraid," he said. "A lot of people would like to get hold of him but he's always disappearing."

Mr Conomos did not respond to messages from Fairfax Media. A limousine was parked out the front of his parents home in Bellevue Hill on Saturday but no one answered the door.

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