A criminal gang spent months terrorizing a senior Iraqi politician’s Sydney family in an attempt to extort up to 10 million dollars from him, police say.
In a series of attacks on the Chester Hill home of Ahmed Al-wife Asadi’s and five children, authorities in NSW and Canada have arrested four people.
Mr. Al-Asadi is a dual citizen of Iraq and Australia and is the spokesperson for the Iraqi Fatah Alliance.
The “mastermind” of the scheme was a Canadian man, Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett said, 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 four armed intruders in masks forced their way into the home in December 2019 and hit a 16-year-old boy with a gun over the head, before stealing cash and leaving the scene.
In August 2020, while two adults, two teenagers and a child were inside, shots were fired at the home.
A brick was used to smash a front window this year, a threatening note was left outside the house and a fire on the front porch was lit.
Police said the family had also received various demands via social media for money and threats to their welfare.
The children of the couple are aged between 10 and 25.
In a coordinated operation, authorities in NSW and Canada today searched homes in Edmonton, Canada, Seven Hills and Blacktown.
In Sydney, two men, aged 24 and 22, were arrested.
In Canada, a 33-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman were arrested.
Those involved are expected to be charged with a variety of offences, including asking for money with a threat.
Sources close to the investigation revealed that Mr. Al-wife Asadi’s and children were moved to an undisclosed location just over a week ago by police because of heightened fears for their safety.
As refugees from Iraq, the family moved to Australia as US forces sought to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein 20 years ago.
Mr. Al-Asadi worked in Western Sydney as a taxi driver before eventually returning home to become a member of the Baghdad Iraqi Parliament.