killer gatto follow money of opes

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    Killer follows money trail to Singapore
    Email Printer friendly version Normal font Large font Mark Forbes in Singapore
    April 9, 2008

    Experienced mediator for hire … Mick Gatto leaves Melbourne, bound for Singapore.
    Photo: Wayne Taylor

    AdvertisementTHE burly figure of Mick Gatto, the former boxer and killer of a gangland hitman turned "mediator", ambled into Singapore's glitzy Changi Airport last night, hoping to help recoup millions lost by clients of the stockbroker Opes Prime.

    Mr Gatto's powers of persuasion have worked wonders in Melbourne's bars, backstreets and building sites but it remains to be seen if he can shake down the elusive world of high finance and international capital transfers.

    Flanked by two bulky associates, Mr Gatto said he had a "couple of good leads" and "a couple of people to visit" in an attempt to recover $300 million lost by several Opes Prime clients who had engaged him.

    First on the agenda was a visit to Opes Prime's Singapore office, he said. Hundreds of millions of dollars were channelled through the office to a British Virgin Islands company and subsequently disappeared.

    Russia and the Virgin Islands were possible havens for the cash, Mr Gatto said.

    "We believe we are doing a good service, and think we have every chance of recovering a vast majority of the money. The proof is in the pudding."

    Asked how he planned to recover the money, Mr Gatto said: "We are going to bring it back in suitcases, several suitcases. We believe we can do a lot better than the liquidators, lawyers and banks."

    The three denied they had made the trip to stand over people but Mr Gatto said: "We will do whatever it takes - within reason." He was "not at liberty" to reveal the names of his clients, he said, and warned against following him around, adding that it could prove dangerous - "not from us, of course".

    Mr Gatto shot dead the hitman Andrew "Benji" Veniamin in 2004 and was later acquitted of murder on the grounds of self-defence.

    His private company, Arbitrations & Mediations, has in the past been engaged to deal with feuds on Melbourne construction sites.

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