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Archive for July, 2012

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The Australian Federal Police has made its largest seizure of ice and its third-largest seizure of heroin in its history – with a street value of $500 million – in Sydney, officials say.

The AFP Serious and Organised Crime Manager David Sharpe said AFP and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service seized half a tonne of drugs in an operation in Sydney overnight.

Last financial year was the most successful year for the AFP with a haul of more than 14 tonnes of illicit drugs and in access of $100 million worth of assets, he added in a statement.
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BRITAINS WEALTHY ELITE MALE & Tetra Pak heir arrested after wife’s death

The Rich Pom

Hans Kristian Rausing, one of Britian’s richest men and heir to packaging company Tetra Pak, has been arrested after his wife’s body was discovered in their London home.

Hans Kristian Rausing, one of the heirs to the multibillion-pound Tetra Pak packaging dynasty, was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the death of his wife Eva, after her body was found at their luxurious central London home.

The London Metropolitan police said a body had been found at an address in Cadogan Place, Belgravia.


The property had been searched following the earlier arrest in south London of a 49-year-old man on suspicion of possession of drugs, a spokesman said. The man was later rearrested in connection with the death, which is being treated as “unexplained”. He is being held at a police station in south London.

Boudy found ... police have taped off the Rausing home.Body found … police have taped off the Rausing home. Photo: Getty Images

Though Scotland Yard has not yet confirmed his identity, the 49-year-old is understood to be Mr Rausing, whose Swedish grandfather, Ruben Rausing, invented the Tetra Laval milk carton in the 1960s. Hans Kristian’s father, Hans snr, was ranked by Forbes in 2010 as the 64th richest man in the world. He is thought to have a personal fortune of almost £6 billion ($9.15 billion).
The Rich Pom

A post-mortem was opened at Westminster mortuary in London at 1pm on Tuesday. The dead woman has not yet been formally identified, but sources confirmed the body was that of Mrs Rausing.

The five-storey house is in one of London’s most expensive areas just off Sloane Street, between Knightsbridge and Chelsea. Officers could be seen last night guarding the front door, which was taped off.

The couple, who have four teenage children, have struggled for many years with addiction to hard drugs, narrowly escaping prison in 2008 after heroin and £2000 worth of crack cocaine were found at their home. Mrs Rausing had been arrested after trying to smuggle several wraps of cocaine into a reception at the American embassy in Grosvenor Square.

As part of their caution, the couple were required to attend a four-month drugs rehabilitation program, and they were prominent benefactors of a number of anti-drugs charities, even while they continued to struggle with their own addictions.

The Rich Pom

The American-born Mrs Rausing, the daughter of a wealthy Pepsi executive, met her husband in the 1980s when they were both being treated at a US drug rehabilitation centre.

In a statement following her arrest in 2008, she said: “I have made a serious mistake which I very much regret. I intend to leave as soon as possible to seek the help that I very much need. I have made a grave error and I consider myself to have taken a wrong turn in the course of my life. I am very sorry for the upset I have caused. I thank my family and friends for their kindness and understanding.”

After the hearing, the Rausing family said they “hope[d] with all their hearts” that the couple could “overcome their addiction”, and that they would support them.

But the decision to drop charges in favour of a conditional caution attracted some criticism of double standards for wealthy offenders. The move was described as “very surprising” by then Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair, who said it “sends entirely the wrong message about drug use and disregards the harm it does to communities”. He added that the decision not to prosecute “reminds me of the 19th-century legal comment often attributed to Sir James Mathew: ‘In England justice is open to all – just like the Ritz.'”
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Though he was born into relatively modest middle-class circumstances in Sweden, Hans Kristian’s life was transformed by the vast wealth generated by his grandfather’s packaging invention, which permitted milk to be kept fresh without the need for refrigeration.

His father moved the family to Britain in the 1980s to avoid Sweden’s higher tax regime, and in 1996 sold his half of the Tetra Pak company to his now late brother Gad for almost £5 billion.

The company is now controlled by Gad’s three children, Jorn, Finn and Kirsten, who remain based in Sweden. Hans snr, now in his 80s, lives in a 900-acre southern England estate, where he raises deer and collects vintage cars.

Hans Kristian has two sisters, the older of whom, Lisbet, studied at Berkeley and Harvard and went on to be a research fellow at Imperial College, London. Sigrid Rausing, his other sister, owns the literary magazine Granta and the publishing firm Portobello books, and is a noted philanthropist.

In an interview in 2004, she said great wealth was something that was not always easy to come to terms with.

“Be open about it and be active with it,” she said. She has said that her philanthropic habit developed partly from guilt, “but I think it was probably shame, if I can make that distinction. People knew you had money, so you could never say, ‘Come back next month.'”

Eva and Hans Kristian Rausing were also philanthropists, supporting, among others, charities working in the arts, sport and anti-addiction charities.

Mrs Rausing was a patron of one charity, The Mentor Foundation, which worked to help people out of addiction and also boasts the Queen of Sweden, Queen Noor of Jordan and Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia as honorary trustees.

Prince Charles, with whom Hans Kristian is said to be on first-name terms, has described him as “a very special philanthropist” because of his support for drugs charities.

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Executed … this frame grab shows Najiba (centre) sitting at the edge of a ditch shortly before being executed after being accused of adultery with a Taliban commander. Photo: AFP/Parwan Provincial Government

There sure is nothing like a public execution to arouse the dear public. Two hundred years ago, we’d be pushing our way to the front of the gallows or the guillotine’s platform just to hear the crack of the neck being snapped or to gasp as the doomed head bounced into its basket. If providence allowed, we’d even get close enough to spit in the face of the condemned.

The king/crook/traitor is dead! Hooray!

But, now, with our supersonic laptops and co-joined online lives, we can sit in private, trembling with pre-emptive disgust, and watch as those arousing words:  “This video contains images with may distress some viewers” scroll onto our screen.

Like that genre of film called Horror that encourages us to enjoy the murder and dismemberment of various poor sods, we squint and hide behind fingers but, as our bravery grows, we drop the pretence of shock.

And, here, we see the young woman by the ditch gunned down by the furious cuckold, his grey-speckled beard suggesting there was quite the age diff between he and his 22-year-old wife.

Of course, we don’t need a gang of religious zealots in a backward craphole to tell us that old men marrying young gals always ends badly.

Can you imagine the awkward conversations? Old guy remembers, with a beatific smile, the nineties, like before the Americans came and screwed up everything, when any Taliban could freely fire his Kalishnikov into any woman who flashed a friendly smile or was stupid enough to walk to school.

Get with the times, Mr Afghan man!

A far as deaths go, it was completely different to the way America dispatches its condemned: 20 years on death row, appeal after appeal before, finally, a fat-saturated last meal and a couple of guards trying to find a arterial highway for their killer cocktail.

After the grainy video footage was posted on every news portal online, the usual pious chorus erupted. Barbaric, brutal, un-Islamic etc.


I just can’t believe anyone is shocked anymore about what happens in kooky, tribal, medieval Afghanistan. Men are bad screwed up enough about women and sex in the hip, open west as it is, let alone in the land time forgot.

Yesterday, a Sydney man was found not guilty of murder after knifing a man he found tooling his wife. Like, express disappointment at their behaviour or maybe, in the fire of fury, punch the man in the nose, but to kill someone for adultery? And then for the killer to go unpunished? Hoo! Sounds like Afghanistan!

Does anyone really believe the $17 billion allocated a couple of days ago by the world’s powers toward civilian aid and to the advancement of women’s rights in Afghanistan, will do anything except maybe line the treasure caves of various warlords?

In 2014, when we finally split the joint, it’ll be biz as usual: public executions in stadiums, the poisoning of little girls, honour killings etc.

Get used to it. And enjoy online!

Dead … this frame grab shows Najiba dead seconds after being shot by a man in an execution condemned by the Afghan government as un-Islamic and inhuman. Photo: AFP/Parwan Provincial Government

“Within one hour they decided that she was guilty and sentenced her to death. They shot her in front of villagers in her village, Qol,” she said, adding that the execution took place late last month.

Following the shooting, a villager handed the video over to the provincial government and “the security forces are preparing a big operation to find the culprits”, she said.

The video opens with the woman, wrapped in a grey shawl, sitting at the edge of a ditch in a village surrounded by dozens of men, some perched on rooftops for a better view.

Watching ... this frame grab shows a gathering of people watching the execution by gunfire of a woman married to a member of a hardline Taliban militant group.
Watching … this frame grab shows a gathering of people watching the execution by gunfire of a woman married to a member of a hardline Taliban militant group. Photo: AFP/Parwan Provincial Government is Australia’s divorce and family law service directory linking visitors to a wide range of suppliers needed during and after divorce

As she sits with her back to the crowd a bearded man is seen reading verses from the Koran condemning adultery, before saying: “We cannot forgive her, God tells us to finish her. Juma Khan, her husband, has the right to kill her.”

He approaches to within a couple of metres of the woman, says “Allahu akhbar” (God is greater), aims and fires twice, missing each time. The third shot hits her in the back, she flings her arms wide and collapses.

He then fires another six shots into her body as the crowd cheers wildly, shouting “Long live Islam”, “Long live mujahideen (holy warriors)”. The gunman then fires four more shots into her body.

The government issued a statement on Sunday saying it “strongly condemns this un-Islamic and inhuman action by those professional killers and has ordered the Parwan police to find the culprits and bring them to justice”

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The Afghanistan Human Rights Commission also expressed outrage. Its executive director Mohammad Musa Mahmodi said: “We condemn any killings done without proper trial. It is non-Islamic and against all human rights values.”

Hague shocked and disgusted

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday he was “shocked and disgusted” by reports that the Taliban had executed the woman.

The British government condemned the “deplorable” action and called upon Afghanistan’s rulers to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“I am shocked and disgusted by [the] reports,” Mr Hague said. “Such deplorable actions underline the vital need for better protection of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.”

He explained that the British government was working with its Afghan counterparts, NGOs and international partners to improve the status of women in Afghanistan.

Clinton makes plea for women

The killing came as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a powerful plea on Sunday for the rights of women in Afghanistan, using a global forum to insist that they must be part of the country’s future growth.

Mrs Clinton, who was addressing a world conference in Tokyo on Afghanistan’s future, said: “The United States believes strongly that no nation can achieve peace, stability and economic growth if half the population is not empowered.”

She said the way forward “must include fighting corruption, improving governance, strengthening the rule of law [and providing] access to economic opportunity for all Afghans, especially for women”.

“All citizens need to have the chance to benefit from and contribute to Afghanistan’s progress. The United States will continue to stand strongly by the women of Afghanistan,” she added.

But the execution video could renew concerns that Kabul is not doing enough to protect women, particularly from so-called honour killings, which were common during the Taliban regime that ruled from 1996 to 2001.

The Taliban have since waged an insurgency against the government of President Hamid Karzai, which is supported by about 130,000 NATO troops.

According to figures provided by the US State Department, out of the 8 million students enrolled in schools today, nearly 40 per cent are girls. That contrasts sharply with 2002 when there were only 900,000 children in schools, virtually none of them girls.

The US says there are now 175,000 teachers in Afghanistan, about a third of them women, thanks to $US316 million ($310 million) spent on education initiatives.

US officials said Mrs Clinton had raised the issue of women’s rights with Mr Karzai during her brief visit to Kabul on Saturday, warning that they were a litmus test for the country’s progress.

The Tokyo talks have raised pledges of $US16 billion in civilian aid for the conflict-torn nation over the next four years.

Representatives from more than 80 nations and international organisations gathering in the Japanese capital later adopted the “Tokyo Declaration”, pledging support and cash for Kabul.

MAX Sica has been sentenced to life behind bars & a non-parole period of 35 years – the longest term ever ordered in Queensland – for the brutal murder of the Singh siblings in Brisbane.

Sica was today sentenced to the record term after he was earlier this week convicted of the horrific triple murders.

Justice Byrne ordered that Sica serve the extraordinary term after the defence counsel submitted a sentence of 20 to 30 years and the prosecution sought a 45-year non-parole period. That would have meant Sica would have been would have been 83 when eligible for parole.


The Crown was using the sentence imposed on South Australian triple murderer Jason Downie as an example.Downie was given a non-parole period of 35 years, which would have been 42 years if he had not pleaded guilty.Downie was 18 when he killed 16-year-old Chantelle Rowe and her parents in a brutal knife attack after breaking into their home in the South Australian town of Kapunda in November 2010.Before he passed sentence today, Justice Byrne said he was being asked by the prosecution to hand down a sentence 50 per cent greater than the longest sentence ever given by a Queensland judge.Sica’s barrister Sam Di Carlo asked for a sentence between 20 and 30 years for his client.Di Carlo says the Singh murders were not in the “worst category” because both Kunal and Sidhi were killed in their beds while asleep and did not experience the horror of other notoriously brutal murders committed in Queensland

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“I still cook for them, change, wash and iron their clothes,” she wrote.

“I light a candle every night in the spa so they don’t have to sleep in the dark.

“I was forced to sit down and wait for my children to be cremated.

“People tried to comfort me but I pushed them all away.

“I didn’t even want anyone touching me.”

Outside court, Sica’s father Carlos said his son was innocent.

“If I believed that my son had been capable of that (triple murder), I would say to the judge, ‘give 100 years’,” he told reporters.

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But Justice Byrne interrupted, saying it was not known how much terror the children experienced.

“The lives of an 18-year-old and a 12-year-old meant nothing to him,” he said.

“Why is it not in the worst category?”

“It’s certainly a horrific murder,” Di Carlo conceded.

Heart-wrenching victim impact statements from three members of the Singh family were read out in court today.

Jurors have been reduced to tears as Shirley Singh’s statement was read aloud by a member of the prosecution team.

Mrs Singh has told how she tried to take her own life on several occasions and ended up searching cemeteries for their graves in the middle of the night, drunk and affected by Stilnox

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He then read from a prepared statement, saying an appeal would commence immediately.”I have spoken to Max, and while I’m stunned by the decision, we maintain he’s absolutely innocent,” he said.

“We will continue to defend those charges at appeal (and) we will also fight the remaining charge,” he added, referring to an unrelated charge of rape against Sica.

Mr Sica broke down as he continued to read from the statement, saying his son’s priority was to his family and in particular his mother.

It was the same statement released by Sica’s wife earlier that day.

Sica’s mother Anna, who erupted in an emotional outburst outside court after Tuesday’s verdict, remained in a cafe in the court complex.

Massimo “Max” Sica, 42, was found guilty on Tuesday of killing his former girlfriend Neelma Singh, 24, and her siblings Kunal,18, and Sidhi, 12, in April 2003.

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The trio were found dead in an overflowing hot spa at their parent’s Bridgeman Downs home in Brisbane’s northern suburbs.

After a 77-day criminal trial – the longest in Queensland legal history – a Supreme Court jury deliberated almost four days before finding the Crown’s strong circumstantial case was sufficient to find married father-of-two daughters had ended the three siblings’ lives.

Criminal lawyer Peter Saggers, shortly after the verdict, said his client, Sica, was “obviously disappointed” about the jury’s decision and would most likely appeal the verdicts.

“We’ve got a month (in which to lodge any) appeal,” he said.

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Under a Queensland law, a person convicted of multiple murders receives a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment and must serve a minimum of 20 years before being eligible for parole.

Sica went to the Singh family’s home late on the night of April 20, 2003, to talk with Neelma and possibly have a prayer meeting about his alleged brain tumour.

No calls were made or answered from the Singh house – mobile or landline – after 11.10pm on April 20 and each of the trio were dressed for bed which indicated they were killed before getting dressed on the Monday morning.

For some reason – perhaps out of jealously or rejection – in a rage Sica strangled Neelma, the Crown said.

It is believed Sica – fearing Kunal and Sidhi could identify him as Neelma’s killer – got a garden fork and attacked them.

Sidhi was beaten to death probably in her bed. Kunal was knocked unconscious, also probably in his bed.

The dead bodies of Neelma and Sidhi were dumped into a running spa and Kunal was also placed in the spa where he drowned.

Sica then used bleach and other materials to clean the murder scene and wash away DNA, but left his sock print in the freshly cleaned area.

Sica lied about being home on the night of the murders and also lied about the time he arrived at the Singh home when he discovered the bodies.

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No one else was expected at the Singh house that night and items missing from Singh house were of sentimental value about Neelma including a pendant Sica had given her.

When Sica had called police saying there were three bodies in the spa. First officers on the scene could see only two bodies.

The parents of the Singh siblings, Vijay and Shirley, are present in court for the hearing, so too are Sica’s mother and father, Anamaria and Carlo.

The hearing before Justice John Byrne continues.

After sentencing today, Sica will be transferred to the Brisbane Correctional Centre for another mental health assessment, as per Queensland Corrective Services procedure.

Previously he was on remand at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, but after sentencing, stricter conditions will apply such as fewer personal visits and phone calls.

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