ABC NEWS

Arrests in Canada and Sydney following alleged $10 million extortion attempt of Iraqi politician

ABC NEWS logo ABC NEWS 24/02/2021 03:42:02 By Sarah Gerathy
a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Ahmed Al-Asadi is a dual Australian/Iraqi citizen. (Supplied) © Provided by ABC NEWSAhmed Al-Asadi is a dual Australian/Iraqi citizen. (Supplied)

A criminal gang spent months terrorising the Sydney family of a senior Iraqi politician in an attempt to extort up to $10 million from him, police say.

Authorities in NSW and Canada have arrested four people over a series of attacks on the Chester Hill home of Ahmed Al-Asadi's wife and five children.

Mr Al-Asadi is a dual Iraqi/Australia citizen who is the spokesman for the Fatah Alliance in Iraq.

Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett said the "mastermind" of the scheme was a Canadian man, who directed people in Sydney to target the home, including with a home invasion.

"Our investigation shows they were motivated by financial gain in the amount of $10 million," he said.

"There's been constant demands for money over a period of time."

Detectives said in December 2019 four armed intruders in masks forced their way into the home and hit a 16-year-old boy over the head with a gun, before stealing cash and leaving the scene.

In August 2020, shots were fired at the home while two adults, two teenagers and a child were inside.

This year a brick was used to smash a front window, a threatening note was left outside the home and a fire was lit on the front porch.

Police said the family had also received various demands for money and threats to their welfare via social media.

The couple's children are aged between 10 and 25.

Authorities in NSW and Canada today searched homes in Edmonton, Canada, Seven Hills and Blacktown in a coordinated operation

Two men, aged 24 and 22, were arrested in Sydney.

A 33-year-old man and a 32-year-old women were arrested in Canada.

Those involved are expected to be charged with a raft of offences, including demand money with menace.

Sources close to the investigation have revealed Mr Al-Asadi's wife and children were moved to an undisclosed location by police over heightened fears for their safety just over a week ago.

The family moved to Australia as refugees from Iraqi as US forces were seeking to topple the Saddam Hussein regime 20 years ago.

Mr Al-Asadi worked as a taxi driver in Western Sydney before eventually returning home to become a member of the Iraqi Parliament in Baghdad.

24. helmikuuta 2021 5:42:02 Categories: ABC NEWS

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