Australia - EXCLUSIVE: Victoria's most powerful bikie boss has been linked to a group of suspected firearms traffickers by a secret police informer.
In a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of arms dealing, the Herald Sun has uncovered allegations that Comancheros boss Amad "Jay" Malkoun has links with individuals who police suspect may be illicit gun runners.
In allegations raised with police, a private jet pilot who is an associate of Malkoun is alleged to have used the plane to traffic weapons for the Comancheros.
It is alleged the pilot is also an associate of underworld figure Mick Gatto, who is himself a mate of Malkoun.
Another Malkoun associate who owns nightclubs around Melbourne is considered by police to have had potential involvement in arms smuggling.
Outlaw motorcycle gangs are considered by law enforcement to be key players in the illicit firearms trade. Gatto claims to have no involvement in gun running.
Police have been told that outlaw motorcycle gangs are dealing in Uzis, M16s and M25 sniper rifles.
Police around the country have warned outlaw bikie gangs are a threat, dealing in extortion, drug running and money laundering.
Amad "Jay" Malkoun (far left) and Mick Gatto (far right) and friends at a boxing match. Picture: George Salpigtidis Source: Herald Sun
Bikie boss Amad "Jay" Malkoun, who served more than a decade in jail for heroin trafficking, has alleged links with a gang of arms traders.
A Herald Sun investigation has uncovered alleged connections between Comancheros boss Malkoun and a suspected gun trafficking operation involving a private jet pilot based in Melbourne.
According to allegations made by a police supergrass in recent years, Malkoun and his friend Mick Gatto have links to that pilot.
In separate claims raised by the supergrass, weapons including M16s, M25 sniper rifles and mini Uzis have been imported, via private planes, helicopters and shipping containers, for use by organised crime groups and outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Central to the operation with alleged links to Malkoun is a private jet pilot who is an alleged associate of both men.
Police sources allege the pilot is suspected of having played a role in arming the Comancheros with weapons from far north Queensland.
Police intelligence suggests the jet pilot has used his fleet of planes to traffic weapons for Malkoun's Comancheros.
Business records show the pilot's company has bases across the country.
The pilot has flown for celebrities, sports stars, mining executives and some of Australia's richest people. His fleet includes a luxury jet.
Security industry sources have told the Herald Sun the jet pilot is wealthy, is known to have colourful connections and has allegedly discussed financing the construction of a Comancheros clubhouse. The pilot has been seen partying at an inner-city strip club with Malkoun, according to security sources.
The Herald Sun set out the gun trafficking allegations to Victoria Police, which responded with a statement: "Victoria Police will not comment on intelligence matters or allegations about individuals.
"We are working closely with other agencies, including the Australian Federal Police and Customs, in relation to the illicit trafficking of firearms, weapons, drugs and other materials.
"With these types of crimes there are often links to organised crime.
"This is something Victoria Police will continue to work with our partner agencies across Australia to investigate and disrupt."
Gatto has been described by police as a friend, mentor and close business associate of Malkoun, a former kickboxer and convicted heroin trafficker.
Malkoun is alleged to have close ties with figures involved in the illicit firearms trade, according to information supplied to police that was assessed as credible.
It is believed police have not yet been able to substantiate the gun running allegations.
It has been further alleged that outlaw motorcycle gangs in Australia may have acquired military-grade weapons, including M25 rifles and M16 rifles, from Papua New Guinea and Israel.
Helicopters and shipping containers may have been used to import these guns.
In other revelations, police believe a prominent King St nightclub figure, whom the Herald Sun is not naming for legal reasons, could be involved in arms smuggling.
The individual has links to an established global organised crime empire and has been licensed as a pilot.
He and a former business partner are thought to have served in the armed forces as elite commandos.
Malkoun is allegedly associated with both of these men.
These former commandos are also associates of the jet pilot who is allegedly implicated in the firearms trafficking operation for the Comancheros.
Both these former commandos have links to security firms or individuals thought to have been active in the illicit weapons trade, including to an underworld gun dealer known to slain Carlton Crew figure Mario Condello.
Gatto spoke at Condello's 2006 funeral, describing his convicted drug trafficker friend as a "noble gentleman".
Gatto himself was acquitted of murdering underworld hitman Andrew Veniamin after convincing a jury it was self-defence when he shot him twice in the neck and once in the head.
Last night, Gatto confirmed he had used the pilot's private jet service in the past, but declined to supply details.
"I've got no involvement in trafficking firearms at all. It's all nonsense."
Gatto has never been one to back away from confrontation. A former professional boxer and a current professional "mediator", navigating conflict has always been part of his typical day's work.
After hours, he observes conflict for fun.
The Herald Sun photographed Gatto and his mate Malkoun ringside at a Danny Green boxing match in November.
In an image that caught the eye of police around the country, the duo mixed with a who's who of colourful characters: a Bandidos figure, Perth gangster John Kizon, gym owner Tony Doherty and Gatto's partner in his mediations business, John Khoury.
Former Carlton footballer Brendan Fevola was spotted in the background.
As for Jay Malkoun, his alleged interest in weapons appears to run in the family.
His brother Elie, with whom he was convicted over a major drug trafficking operation in the 1980s, was recently jailed in the US for firearms offences. US authorities alleged that in March 2011, soon after visiting Mexico, Elie had purchased from an Arizona gun show three weapons: a Smith & Wesson 9 millimetre pistol, a Sig Sauer .45 calibre pistol and a Colt model Mustang Pocket Light .38 calibre pistol.
A US court heard he had also tried to buy another gun fitted with a laser sight from a sports store.
He was ordered to serve two years in prison in the US.
He and Jay spent the best part of a decade in Victorian prisons after police busted their $5.5 million Melbourne-to-Perth heroin trafficking operation in 1988.
At the time, it was the biggest bust of its kind.
Malkoun did not return the Herald Sun's calls last night.
A meeting of police ministers from around the country will discuss illegal firearms when they meet in Darwin for two days from tomorrow.
Among the agenda items for the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Management is how law enforcement can stop legal weapons from slipping into the hands of organised crime.
The question of how to better track the movement of weapons and their parts is also expected to be raised.
Better border control and weapons identification will also be discussed.
The body resolved last June to find better ways of addressing "vulnerabilities in the international airstream" and to establish a national firearms registry.
Ministers were told that outlaw motorcycle groups were commonly connected with illicit arms trading, typically running that as a side business to their principal enterprise, drug trafficking.
A firearms registration loophole in Queensland that allowed poorly deactivated weapons to slip undetected on to the black market was closed in 2011.
A major study into illicit firearms and organised crime by the Australian Institute of Criminology last year found that military weapons including AK47s, Bren light machineguns and weapon parts are among the items that have been seized across the country over the past decade.
Research suggests that there are up to 10,000 handguns circulating in the illicit market and that handguns are the weapon of choice for bikies.