Sunday, November 7, 2010

Crooked cop off the hook

Victoria's peak corruption fighter says it is powerless to take action on "Officer X", a serving Victoria Police member linked to gangland figures, a multi-million dollar armed robbery and a drug house.

Senior police sources are flabbergasted the Office of Police Integrity has said it is unable to tackle the matter.

Today the Sunday Herald Sun reveals details of the internal police case against the veteran detective - Officer X - including alleged links to gangland patriarchs George Williams and Lewis Moran. Key links include:

WHEN police raided an unoccupied drug house in country Victoria, Officer X called investigators to admit he owned the property.

PHONE calls between an ex-cop friend of Officer X and the Broadmeadows home of crime boss George Williams.

SURVEILLANCE of Officer X being driven in Moran's car to a Tabaret car park, where the pair spoke.

A DETECTIVE Inspector said there was also "past known dubious association" between Officer X and the Moran family.

TAPED conversations between Officer X and Moran.

HOLES in Officer X's story of how he was tied up while guarding $4 million of cigarettes stolen in a heist police believe was masterminded by Lewis Moran a decade before his murder in 2004.

HIS ownership of properties across the nation.

When questioned by the Sunday Herald Sun over the alleged offences, Officer X - who is not being named for legal reasons - said: "I have nothing to say about those."

An ex-police inspector made a case to the Office of Police Integrity in 2007, provided documents and told it of existing files allegedly implicating the sergeant.

Three years later, the OPI said it was dropping the matter because files on Officer X that were meant to be with the Ethical Standards Department had vanished.

Senior police sources are angry the OPI has not tackled the matter. Former Detective Inspector Paul Newman advocated an internal probe of Officer X in 2002 but has been disappointed by the results. When contacted by the Sunday Herald Sun, ex-Insp Newman said: "I would have thought if the OPI were going to do a thorough investigation, they would come and interviewed me. I have not been approached."

Police received intelligence that Officer X's ex-cop friend -"Birdy" - was approaching officers for help setting up the country Victoria drug house. Internal investigators concluded "a probable inference could be drawn that a conspiracy had already taken place between (Birdy) and (Officer X)". More than 50 calls were made between Officer X and Birdy in the lead-up to the drug house being raided.

Officer X's explanation for owning the drug house was that it was an investment property he rented out. But the man Officer X nominated as his tenant denied all knowledge and said he had previously lost his wallet at the scene of a house fire and thought someone may have obtained his details then.

Birdy, remarkably, was the man who discovered Officer X tied up after the multi-million dollar cigarette heist, but Birdy's statement taken by police after the heist does not mention why he was there.

In the lead-up to the robbery, Birdy made several calls to the Prince of Wales Hotel in Flemington. Police concluded those calls would have been to communicate with Moran. There has never been an internal probe of the cigarette heist

The Sunday Herald Sun spoke to 12 sources for this story, including senior former and serving detectives. "Anything you hear about Officer X is true ... his continued survival in the job is not a closed secret but an open joke," one said.

Some said he had also come under a cloud for associating with disgraced officer Denis "Lard" Tanner.

In 2002, police reported that a month after meeting Lewis Moran at the Tabaret, Officer X called Moran and the pair agreed to meet at a suburban KFC. Officer X did not record either meeting in his police diary nor notify any of his superiors.

A police spokeswoman said there had been two "very thorough" investigations. "On both occasions the allegations were found to be unsubstantiated," she said. "These investigations remain open and if further evidence came to light, both matters would be re-examined. "There is no active ESD investigation involving this member."


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