SYDNEY: A notorious crime boss who was once Australia’s most wanted man has been stabbed in prison, reports said Monday, months after revelations his lawyer was a police informant cast doubt on his criminal convictions.
Tony Mokbel, who masterminded a drug trafficking empire, was a central figure in Melbourne’s gangland war which began in the late 1990s.
The violence claimed dozens of lives and was later immortalised in the hugely popular Australian TV series “Underbelly”.
Police said a man aged in his 50s – widely reported to be Mokbel by Australian media – was flown from the maximum security Barwon Prison southwest of Melbourne in a serious condition after a stabbing on Monday afternoon.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman would not confirm the victim’s identity to AFP.
A second man aged in his 30s was also taken to hospital, police added.
Mokbel skipped bail in Melbourne in early 2006 just before being sentenced for drug trafficking.
He was later arrested while on the run in Greece and extradited to Australia.
Monday’s attack came several years after one of Mokbel’s associates, mobster Carl Williams, was killed in the same prison.
It followed the release in December of previously suppressed court documents that revealed one of the biggest legal scandals to hit Australia in years.
The documents disclosed that a high-profile Melbourne barrister had for years been giving information to Victoria Police, while representing Mokbel and six of his associates.
More than 600 cases could be tainted as a result, according to Australian media, meaning that the criminals might be able to appeal their convictions. — AFP