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An associate of the Alameddine crime family has been charged over last year’s firebombing of the Bondi house of political commentator and YouTube satirist Jordan Shanks, known online as FriendlyJordies.
Tufi Junior Tauese-Auelua, 37, appeared at Waverley Court on Wednesday charged with two counts of damaging property by fire in company.
A blaze breaks out at the Bondi house of Jordan Shanks on the night it was firebombed in November 2022.Credit: OnScene Bondi, Sally Rawsthorne
Detective Superintendent Gordon Arbinja, commander of the Financial Crimes Squad confirmed a person was arrested at a correctional centre at Silverwater and also said “police can confirm that the person arrested has links to an organised crime group situated in the south-west of Sydney”.
“This alleged attack was co-ordinated and targeted,” said Arbinja, who foreshadowed further arrests in coming weeks.
Associates of the Alameddines found themselves the subject of unwelcome attention by the popular YouTuber inadvertently through former deputy premier John Barilaro’s employment post-politics.
Barilaro was hired as Coronation Property’s executive director, despite the job not being advertised, from February until June 2022, when he resigned to take his controversial and now-abandoned New York trade role.
Coronation’s former company secretary Andy Nahas had alleged links to high-profile Alameddine associates. These connections were examined at length in a 46-minute YouTube video titled “Coronation” and broadcast by Shanks in August 2022.
Barilaro has featured extensively in Shanks’ videos. He successfully sued Google, which owns YouTube, as well as Shanks, over two videos Shanks published in 2020 accusing the former Nationals’ leader of corruption.
Jordan Shanks pictured in a still from the “bruz” video filmed in Barilaro’s Airbnb.Credit: @friendlyjordies
The first video was recorded inside Barilaro’s investment property in the Southern Highlands, which Shanks rented on Airbnb so he could film from there.
In August last year, both the Herald and Shanks revealed that Nahas had been photographed with alleged high-ranking members of the Alameddine crime family.
It was also revealed that Nahas had been arrested and charged in 2009 over a kidnapping. In his statement to police, the alleged victim detailed how Nahas lured him to a meeting where he was kidnapped by others, including a high-ranking bikie boss who is facing unrelated murder charges.
The charges against Nahas and the others accused of kidnapping were dismissed after the court was told that “despite further inquiries being made by police since the last court date, [the alleged victim] has not yet been located”. Police were ordered to pay costs over the failed prosecution.
Far left is Stephen Bou-Abbse, second left is Joseph Vokai. Rapper Ay Huncho (real name Ali Younes) is fifth from left, holding a bag. The tall man in the white T-shirt behind him is Masood Zakaria. Immediately to the right of Ay Huncho is John Ray Bayssari, who has his arm around Andy Nahas. Credit: Rolling Stone
However, it was a recent photo of Nahas with his arm around an alleged high-ranking Alameddine figure that led to questions being asked in NSW parliament in September 2022.
A parliamentary committee asked Police Commissioner Karen Webb, her deputy Dave Hudson and the Crime Commission’s Peter Bodor, QC, about the photo that featured several high-ranking associates of the Alameddine crime family with Andy Nahas.
The photo published in the Herald and shown in parliament accompanied an August 2021 Rolling Stone article featuring rapper Ay Huncho, whose real name is Ali Younes, an associate of the Alameddines. This year Younes, 26, pleaded guilty and was fined over charges of affray, recklessly causing grievous bodily harm in company and assault with intent to participate in the activity of a criminal group.
Some of the other mates of the rapper in the photo also have connections with the Alameddines, including one of Australia’s most wanted fugitives, Masood Zakaria, who was recently extradited from Turkey in relation to a commercial drug supply and conspiracy to murder a member of the Hamze family, with whom the Alameddines have been waging a deadly war.
John Barilaro and rapper Ay Huncho, real name Ali Younes, with Andy Nahas.
Parliament heard that Zakaria’s company Zak Services is a shareholder in Alpha Omega Enterprises, a labour hire firm that has worked for Coronation.
Other people in the photo are Stephen Bou-Abbse, who police are seeking over a non-association order with alleged crime figure Mohamad “Almo” Alameddine; Joseph Vokai, currently charged with conspiracy to commit murder and knowingly directing the criminal activities of a criminal group; and John Ray Bayssari, charged with drug supply, dealing with proceeds of crime and participating in a criminal group.
Asked whether he was concerned about any connection between Coronation and these people, Deputy Commissioner Hudson replied: “I am concerned about any people or any organisation that that particular group is associated with.”
After viewing the photo in which Nahas was featured, Bodor and Hudson assured the hearing their organisations would investigate further.
There is no suggestion that any member of the Nahas family nor Barilaro had any knowledge of or involvement in the arson attack on Shanks’s Bondi rental property which suffered significant damage when firebombed in November 2022.
The YouTuber was not home at the time. There had been another attempt to firebomb the same house the previous week.
Tauese-Auelua did not apply for bail. The matter will return to court on January 30.
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