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Connections by Bob Bottom

Tackling Corruption

  Whenever Australians think of corruption, they tend to identify it with police, politics and organised crime. As serious as that scenario might be, the hidden inroads of corruption go much deeper. With moves underway, at least at a federal level, to face up to the problem of corruption, its… Keep Reading

Caught In The Act

What must rank as Australia’s most sophisticated bugging exercise proved the final undoing of the Australian principals of the Lavender drug syndicate. It was carried out from a listening post in a public park. Wary of telephones, always booking plane flights in false names, seldom driving the same cars, and… Keep Reading

Grand Plans

Police sensed a major turn of events in Operation Lavender when they bugged a conversation between Stephen Nittes and an associate in a room of a Melbourne motel on 16 April 1985. With lower level distributors having been arrested, and a break in contact with the Sydney principals, Nittes and… Keep Reading

Operation Lavender

On the streets of Melbourne, Sydney and other Australian cities in early 1984, plastic packets of hashish went up for sale bearing a distinctive emblem: a cedar tree. In the trade, it has become known as Lebanese Gold. The cedar tree is Lebanon’s national symbol. What’s more, its use as… Keep Reading

A Brothel Of An Idea

If the American mafia, or Australia’s legendary ‘Mr Sin’ wanted to, they could now set up licensed brothels in Victoria, no questions asked. If they wanted a monopoly over all licensed brothels in Victoria, they could achieve that too, as long as they put up enough front people. With dozens… Keep Reading

Fake Money Haven

During the development of international-style organised crime in Australia throughout the two decades from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, a legal loophole was exploited to make Australia a haven for counterfeiters of foreign currency. It was not until the end of 1985 that special legislation was enacted to make counterfeiting… Keep Reading

Exposure From Within

Always a mystery character, Ivan Markovics became more elusive than ever when inquiries were initiated into the whereabouts of perhaps millions of dollars paid by Australians and others for ‘knighthoods’ in his bogus order of the Knights of Malta. The organisation’s own ambassador-at-large, Miroslav Sulc, gem dealer and former St… Keep Reading

A Plethora of Knights

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the thousand-year old Knights of Malta may be pleased. A plethora of associations of knights emerged following exposure of the Ivan Markovic operation in 1985. Most disclaimed any connection with Markovics’s organisation, reported as having been infiltrated by a group of dubious… Keep Reading

Knights of Crime

For nearly one thousand years, the venerable religious order of the Knights of Malta endured all the traumas history could produce to survive as the most exclusive social club on earth. Its name has been a cherished symbol of chivalry in diplomatic circles around the world. In less than one… Keep Reading

A Presidential Target

The nexus between Australia and organised crime operations in America has been brought home in dramatic fashion to the Government of the United States. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan launched an all-out assault against the kingpins behind America’s drug trade. Allocating more than $200 million, and employing more than 1000… Keep Reading

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