Strikes postpone Mokbel trial


Summary

Mokbel, who skipped bail in March 2006 while on trial in Australia on drugs charges, appeared at the brief hearing in an Athens courtroom, where he was scheduled to be tried on the misdemeanor charge of forgery and possession of a false passport and driver's licence.

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The case was rescheduled for July 24.

If convicted, he would face a maximum sentence of 12 months.

Extradition ‘being considered’

Greek authorities are also considering a formal request by Australian authorities to extradite Mokbel to Australia to face drug trafficking and murder charges.

The extradition request was received yesterday and is being considered by a judiciary panel before a court date is set to discuss the matter.

He was convicted in absentia in Australia of cocaine smuggling – with a minimum sentence of nine years – and was subsequently charged with the murder of a Melbourne underworld figure, Lewis Moran.

He has also been implicated in a second murder, of drug dealer Michael Marshall.

20 charges

These charges figure among the 20 formal charges awaiting him in Australia in the event of his return.

Mokbel's Greek lawyer, Yiannis Vlachos, says Mokbel strongly denied any connection with the two murders.

"He strongly denies that he has any involvement in murder cases … they are based on two witness accounts of two people whom he has never seen in his life and with whom he has nothing to do.

"His opinion is that the evidence with which the Australian request is trying to support the two charges of murder is non-existent."

After the hearing Mokbel, who has vowed to fight extradition, insisted the charges had been trumped up.

Mokbel was arrested last month while sitting in a cafe in the affluent seaside Athens suburb of Glyfada.

He is now incarcerated in high-security Korydallos prison.


Mokbel, who skipped bail in March 2006 while on trial in Australia on drugs charges, appeared at the brief hearing in an Athens courtroom, where he was scheduled to be tried on the misdemeanor charge of forgery and possession of a false passport and driver's licence.

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The case was rescheduled for July 24.

If convicted, he would face a maximum sentence of 12 months.

Extradition ‘being considered’

Greek authorities are also considering a formal request by Australian authorities to extradite Mokbel to Australia to face drug trafficking and murder charges.

The extradition request was received yesterday and is being considered by a judiciary panel before a court date is set to discuss the matter.

He was convicted in absentia in Australia of cocaine smuggling – with a minimum sentence of nine years – and was subsequently charged with the murder of a Melbourne underworld figure, Lewis Moran.

He has also been implicated in a second murder, of drug dealer Michael Marshall.

20 charges

These charges figure among the 20 formal charges awaiting him in Australia in the event of his return.

Mokbel's Greek lawyer, Yiannis Vlachos, says Mokbel strongly denied any connection with the two murders.

"He strongly denies that he has any involvement in murder cases … they are based on two witness accounts of two people whom he has never seen in his life and with whom he has nothing to do.

"His opinion is that the evidence with which the Australian request is trying to support the two charges of murder is non-existent."

After the hearing Mokbel, who has vowed to fight extradition, insisted the charges had been trumped up.

Mokbel was arrested last month while sitting in a cafe in the affluent seaside Athens suburb of Glyfada.

He is now incarcerated in high-security Korydallos prison.