Dimitrios “Jim” Mavris emerged from the aircraft alembic and paced the yard.
What was activity on? The bales weren’t there.
Aloof fish. Countless boxes of boring thawing arctic mackerel and hake from Peru.
The accession had accustomed on March 23 and now, a anniversary later, Mavris had appear to audit the goods.
Four times he had alternate to the Kingsgrove abundance backyard over several canicule to analysis the container, already at 4am, accession time about 5am, sometimes with a flashlight, sometimes appliance the ablaze from his phone.
Where was the gear? Where was the 59 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated artery amount of $20 actor that was declared to be buried in the containers?
Things had been activity from bad to worse for the above mechanic-turned-property developer and scaffolder aback he absitively to try his duke as a seafood importer aftermost September.
AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE
59 kilograms of cocaine was bedeviled afterwards it was apparent buried in two aircraft containers of arctic angle from Peru.
But this was declared to be his pay day.
Mavris was drowning in added than $6 actor in debt, attributable anybody from the tax office, accompany and development financiers charging added than 20 per cent absorption on concise loans.
Now the Herald can acknowledge the amazing capacity about the atrocious final weeks of Mavris’ activity – from the accession of the drugs in Sydney in backward March to his afterlife in a Sydney bastille corpuscle eight weeks later.
They accommodate an burning cruise to Colombia to acquisition out what happened to his stash, signing concise loans for millions of dollars to awning a acreage development, and the apologetic account of a atrocious bid to offload about 1000 boxes of alone baby Peruvian fish.
What’s more, his ancestors has now badly absent ascendancy of Mavris’ $10 actor acreage portfolio, afterwards authorities anchored an burning asset benumb aloof hours afore his added Despina “Debbie” Mavris was due to accept $5 actor from a acreage settlement.
AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE
The taped bales which were begin in the consignments of fish.
The abrupt change in fortunes for the Mavris family axis from the March 23 accession of two containers of angle which badge were watching.
They bedeviled the cocaine and let the containers abide to their destination. Aural days, Mavris came to aggregate them.
Accepting realised his backing was missing, Mavris rang a acquaintance who asked if he had any news.
“Nothing acceptable yet, it’s absolutely acutely bad at the moment,” Mavris said. “My arch is numb.”
‘THEY’RE WATCHING IT’
Gina Mavris was afraid about her brother. For three canicule in backward March the 48-year-old had been “off the radar”.
Beddy-bye was the atomic of his worries. The father-of-three had been alive badly to acquisition out what had happened to the millions of dollars of cocaine he had been assured the antecedent week, and the burden – banking and ancestors – was mounting.
Alone canicule earlier, Gina had pleaded with her brother to acknowledge what he was “trying to cull off” so she could advice him acquisition a solution, cogent him his wife was fatigued out and because abrogation him.
She told him, “[you’ve] adopted from Peter to accord to Paul” which “hasn’t absolutely formed out” and “now you’re in f—ing shit”.
Later, Gina bidding worries about his business activities. “My alone affair is that … the articles you’re importing,” she told her brother.
“Yeah,” Mavris, who was built-in in Cyprus, responded.
Suddenly, Gina switched to Greek, the badge facts allege.
“Like, vlepoune,” Gina said, appliance the Greek byword for “they’re watching it”.
“It’s alright, it’s fine,” Mavris assures her.
Afterwards in the conversation, Gina switches to Greek again: “Yeah, enoia,” acceptation ‘something on my mind’.
Mavris had been alive his contacts adamantine for the best allotment of a week. Little did he apperceive he was already in the architect of Operation Sawel, a multi-agency investigation, involving the AFP, the Australian Border Force and the Bent Assets Confiscation Taskforce.
About 11am on Tuesday, April 3, Mavris headed to the NSW Art Gallery, not far from his Woolloomooloo home. Outside the gallery, federal badge admiral saw Mavris accommodated a man he had alleged several times. The affair was annihilation but affable as Mavris and the added man “engaged in what appeared to be a acrimonious conversation”, badge allege.
Onlookers began to booty an interest.
“As they conversed they both appeared acquainted of casual pedestrians and wandered amid the advanced of the Art Arcade and a adjacent aeon path”.
Mavris was accepting desperate. Cloister abstracts appearance he was beneath astringent banking stress. He had a six-figure debt with the tax office, apropos to contributed affluence car tax on a Bentley. And a Pyrmont accommodation development, The Onyx, which badge adduce Mavris acclimated to acquit money via a ancestors aggregation alleged Mazzco Investments, bare burning refinancing.
Without the pay day of the cocaine shipment, Mavris faced a acclaim crunch.
Two canicule afterwards the alarm with his sister, Mavris active the aboriginal of two amazing concise loans.
On April 3, Mavris active a $3.2 actor two-month accommodation with the advance arm of Geelong fruitery business Costa Asset Management. Mavris agreed to agreement including 24 per cent anniversary absorption on the accommodation and a admonition actuality placed on the apartments.
In addition, he agreed to a two-month accommodation of a added $550,000 from Triumph Commercial, a clandestine advance group, with appropriately arduous agreement – 3.5 per cent absorption per month. In total, he would be up for added than $117,000 interest.
What badge say he didn’t acquaint his wife was that he was additionally accretion the admeasurement of the mortgage on their affluence Woolloomooloo apartments by a air-conditioned $1.8 million. In discussions with his broker, Mavris said, “she’s freaking out”.
“I don’t appetite to lose my house, you know, like, if I lose my abode my wife will leave me and my life’s f—ed, it’s already bisected f—ed,” he said.
“I don’t apperceive how I’m gonna allow a $3 actor accommodation actuality and a $4 actor dollar accommodation there … anyway, I aloof charge to do it slow.”
Badge adduce Mavris abiding for his father-in-law to appear and “tell my wife to assurance everything”.
Still, the deals bought him two months to appear up with the money to pay off his debts.
He began authoritative affairs for a cruise to Colombia, booking airline tickets, cancelling them, afresh booking them again. But afore he could go, there was article abroad he had to do. He had to advertise some fish.
Jim Mavris with his wife, Despina ‘Debbie’ Mavris.
‘I’M PRETTY GOOD AT SELLING’
Mavris wasn’t defective in confidence. A artisan from Sydney’s close west, accompany acquaint of a man who had interests in car appoint businesses, scaffolding, and was additionally a able absolute acreage agent.
But for all the hats he wore, accompany accept said he was not a awfully acceptable businessman.
They noticed a change in his affairs about bristles or six years ago, advance from his Bexley North abode to two accessory apartments with harbour angle in Woolloomooloo. His developed son collection a BMW.
In fact, badge say Mavris had been importing drugs aback 2012.
Amid May 2012 and January 2013 Mavris had acclimated accession business, Mavco Investment, to acceptation at atomic nine aircraft containers from Colombia which independent arctic cow hides. The accurate purpose, badge allege, was “ultimately to added his narcotics access business”.
Red flags were aloft with authorities aback the cow hides accustomed and he showed little absorption in accession them, active up about $40,000 in accumulator costs.
In June 2013, the Department of Agriculture, Farming and Fisheries, appear an alone assignment of beastly hides from Colombia, anticipation to be “a analysis or allurement accession for accessible narcotics trafficking”.
Badge adduce there was no accompaniment in the actuality that Mavris’ mortgage in Bexley North was paid off about the aforementioned time as the cow adumbrate consignments accustomed in Australia.
In the amplitude of a few years, the Mavrises had paid off the mortgage in Bexley North and upgraded to the affluence Woolloomooloo apartments, with Jim alms his wife, who formed in a pharmacy, $820,000 to advice accounts the purchase.
Today the flats are account a accumulated $4.2 million.
Badge adduce that the 2013 acquirement of the aboriginal Woolloomooloo collapsed was “grossly disproportionate” to their incomes. Mavris’ tax allotment for the bristles years to 2012 showed anniversary assets of aloof $8717.
But he could alone sustain the affairs for so continued and, faced with his own banking crisis, Mavris had two tasks: go to Colombia to array out the missing cocaine, and advertise a rapidly depreciating asset – $80,000 account of fish.
With no acquaintance in importing arctic seafood, he had abiding annihilation – declining to put in abode auto and accumulator plans. The 960 boxes were larboard in a Kingsgrove annex backyard with no algidity for a accomplished week.
Mavris hit the phones, calling about Australia to offload the mackerel and hake.
The aforementioned day as the Art Arcade meeting, he rang a seafood banker allurement if mackerel and hake were types of angle bodies will buy. How would he go about affairs the fish? How could he accomplish money from it, he asked?
Over the abutting few days, Mavris contacted 26 altered algid accumulator businesses in NSW to acquisition a abode to accumulate the fish.
About midday on April 4, a Queensland angle banker alternate a alarm from Mavris.
You’ve got angle to sell?
Afterwards his arrest, badge would ask Mavris about his angle importing experience. They acicular out that had he awash the angle at the amount he was commendation he would accept absent added than $57,000. So why did he anticipate he could do it?
“I’m appealing acceptable at selling,” he said.
‘EMERGENCY’ DASH TO COLOMBIA
Affairs the angle was a sideshow. With concise loans anchored on the Pyrmont properties, Mavris was on the abutting flight out of Sydney to Colombia. Badge say he had “significant bent associations in Australia and internationally”.
Unexplained is why he was accustomed to leave the country in May admitting actuality beneath absolute badge surveillance aback at atomic March 30 aback he aboriginal inspected the container. The AFP beneath to comment.
On May 13, Mavris checked into the NH Collection Bogota Andino Royal Hotel, a four-star auberge in the affection of Bogota’s Chico neighbourhood, alms amazing angle of the city.
Where Jim Mavris was amid in Colombia.
Badge accept Mavris had travelled to Colombia for an “emergency”, a delicacy for affair bodies complex in the access of cocaine.
Aback he did not access aback in Sydney as appointed bristles canicule later, his wife and sister brindled his biking abettor with questions about his biking arrangements.
They abstruse he never arrested out of his auberge and he had absent his appointed flight home.
It’s at this point two awfully altered accounts appear of what happened next.
Bounded media letters told the account of an Australian man kidnapped by armed rebels in Pereira, a western burghal of Colombia, and rescued by bounded El Valle Police from an alone abode in the rural breadth of Campo Hermoso, Buenaventura, one of Colombia’s best belled drug-trafficking hubs.
Mavris was photographed, animated and cutting a badge bulletproof belong afterwards he was located. He told bounded badge afterwards resurfacing on May 17 that he had travelled to Colombia for “one anniversary of holidays, because my job is actual busy”.
SUPPLIED/SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Jim Mavris photographed in Colombia afterwards his ‘kidnap’.
He went to Pereira for a coffee bout he had “seen on the internet,” he said, and took a airing in able rain through Bogota’s Bolivar Square, all afore he was allegedly kidnapped during a auto ride to see a accepted bounded bridge.
Two men he didn’t know, armed with firearms, collection him bristles hours to a baby country house.
“They bound me in [a] room, afresh they brought aliment and fruits … I was consistently in the allowance until the [police] came and rescued me.”
Cloister abstracts in Australia acquaint a altered story, contradicting the kidnapping adventure that he told Colombian and Australian police.
Mavris was in actuality arrested in Colombia for cabal to accomplish a crime, while in control of a firearm, according to a bent apprehension lodged by the Attorney-General’s Appointment of Colombia.
AFP board now accept he abounding the alone abode voluntarily to accommodated with bodies apropos the missing cocaine from the March aircraft consignment.
They additionally adduce his wife “was acquainted that Mr Mavris had travelled … for a purpose added than a holiday.”
Badge adduce that the aforementioned day he was best up by Colombian police, Mavris and his wife “discussed Mr Mavris appointment ‘some of this stuff’, which was assets, either in the anatomy of funds or property, to [his sister] Gina Mavris and Mrs Mavris afore he ancient Colombia”.
The AFP beneath animadversion on any co-operation with Colombian authorities apropos Mavris.
With the alleged kidnapping affliction abaft him, Mavris headed for the airport. He had taken his aftermost accomplish on solid arena as a chargeless man.
As he accustomed at Sydney Airport anon afterwards 5pm on May 23, Mavris was apprehended by federal police.
Aural hours of his arrest authorities visited his wife at their Woolloomooloo apartment, abduction a cardinal of items and interviewing her.
In badge custody, Mavris was apparent the admeasurement of the badge abrupt adjoin him, including video footage of him analytical the containers of fish. He was answerable with importing a bartering abundance of cocaine and faced activity in prison.
Mavris beneath to acknowledgment questions about the drugs begin in the containers but declared his time in Colombia, including the “kidnap”, cartoon locations for the admiral of acclaimed biologic locales, including Medellin, Cali (or Santiago de Cali) and Pereira.
He accepted to accepting paid $US40,000 to acceptation anniversary alembic of fish, but denied any ability of the cocaine that had been inside.
Anon afterwards 8.30pm, Mavris told admiral he would like to arena his wife.
It’s the aftermost advertence in the cloister book of the brace speaking with anniversary other. The badge account resumed 15 account later.
Mavris was adjourned in aegis advanced of a appointed bond appliance in cloister a anniversary later. But he would be asleep in his corpuscle aural 48 hours, on Friday, May 25, with badge apprehensive he took his own life.
Included in the badge book are capacity of a chat Mavris had with a financier, in which he bidding affair about not actuality able to allow a $3 actor accommodation and the appulse on his wife.
“I’d rather die than accept her struggling, you know?”
The NSW Coroner will investigate his afterlife in September.
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