The MacGill allegations: Boltcutters and balaclavas

 

Former cricketing great Stuart MacGill has told police he was driven to a remote farm, ordered to strip naked, and then bashed during an alleged kidnapping in what police say was connected to a drug deal gone wrong.

The full extent of what police will allege Stuart MacGill went through during his kidnapping ordeal can now be revealed, thanks to the statement he made to police.

The statement will form part of the prosecution case against the four men charged over the alleged kidnapping of the world-famous former Test leg-spinner.

Former cricketer Stuart MacGill’s statement to police outlines his alleged ordeal.
Former cricketer Stuart MacGill’s statement to police outlines his alleged ordeal.

Marino Sotiropoulos, the brother of MacGill's girlfriend Maria O'Meagher, was arrested and charged on May 5 with take/detain company with intent to get advantage occasioning actual bodily harm, participating in a criminal group, and supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity).

Son Minh Nguyen, Richard Schaaf and Frederick Schaaf have also been charged in relation to the alleged kidnapping plot.

Police will allege that MacGill was taken from a street near his home in Sydney's north shore on April 14 and driven 60km to a property in Bringelly, where he was assaulted, threatened with a gun and ordered to hand over a large sum of money.

It is alleged that a 1.8m-tall Polynesian man who weighed an estimated 150kg, who is referred to in MacGill's statement as "the Big Guy", suggested checking whether he was wearing a wire.

Stuart MacGill and partner Maria O'Meagher at Aristotle’s, their restaurant at Neutral Bay. Picture: Instagram
Stuart MacGill and partner Maria O'Meagher at Aristotle’s, their restaurant at Neutral Bay. Picture: Instagram

There were allegedly two other men in a 3m by 4m section of a tarp-covered shed on the Bringelly property.

A second man was allegedly wearing a balaclava and carried a set of boltcutters and a plastic bag. The third man had allegedly driven the 50-year-old cricketer to the Bringelly farm.

In response to the Big Guy's comment about wearing a wire, the former leg-spinner started peeling off his corduroy jacket and a black T-shirt featuring The Beatles logo.

As he was lifting up his shirt, it is alleged Balaclava Man yanked it up and another man used a mobile phone light to check MacGill did not have a wire. It also illuminated the darkened room slightly, allowing MacGill to vaguely see the trio.

He was then allegedly taken, naked, by the three men into a smaller room - measuring 2m by 3m - where Balaclava Man put the boltcutters on the floor to reveal he and Big Guy were armed with guns.

Police will allege that the Big Guy slapped MacGill across the right side of his face, causing him to fall down.

The Bringelly property where MacGill was allegedly held captive. Picture: 7NEWS
The Bringelly property where MacGill was allegedly held captive. Picture: 7NEWS

"There was noise from me falling over, so they made me sit on the floor. It's like they were annoyed that I was making too much noise," MacGill claims.

It is alleged that MacGill was then interrogated by the Big Guy about a man called Sonny. Big Guy allegedly threatened to cut off his fingers with boltcutters and demanded he pay $150,000.

MacGill told police Sonny was a drug dealer who was a frequent patron of Neutral Bay restaurant Aristotle's, which the former cricketer runs with his girlfriend Maria O'Meagher.

He told the officers Sonny had become a friend and he introduced him to Ms O'Meagher's brother Marino Sotiropoulos on April 7.

Police will allege that - without MacGill's knowledge - Sotiropoulos, 46, made a deal to sell 2kg of cocaine to Sonny for $660,000.

Neither MacGill nor Ms O'Meagher have been charged and there is no suggestion that they knew or took part in the alleged drug deal.

When Sonny either didn't pay the money, or used counterfeit cash before disappearing with the cocaine, it is alleged MacGill was held responsible.

 
 

MacGill told police he woke up about noon on April 14 to several missed calls and texts from Sotiropoulos: "Call me, matter of life and death."

Shortly after, MacGill said Sotiropoulos rang the intercom doorbell and came upstairs to tell the cricketer: "Your mate has stolen money, $660,000."

MacGill did not let Sotiropoulos into the apartment, and told police he responded: "I don't give a f..k, it's got nothing to do with me, f..k off."

When Sotiropoulos allegedly replied: "You don't understand, these are bad dudes", MacGill told police he said: "I don't care. F..k off."

According to MacGill, Sotiropoulos told him: "Mate, it's all over for you, you're f...ing dead."

MacGill told police he tried to call Sonny twice and texted him six or seven times, one of which read: "Mate, is there anything you need to talk about, please sort it out, mate help, they're talking about killing me … I thought we were friends."

Police allege that Sotiropoulos repeatedly texted and called MacGill, and waited outside his home in a black Audi. At one point, police will allege MacGill walked outside his apartment with Sotiropoulos and met Son Minh "Sammy" Nguyen, who was allegedly playing the role of mediator.

MacGill claims he was bashed at this Bringelly property. Picture: 7NEWS
MacGill claims he was bashed at this Bringelly property. Picture: 7NEWS

Police will allege that MacGill said: "It's got nothing to do with me."

Nguyen replied: "Well, you introduced them, so it does have something to do with you."

MacGill told police he went inside his apartment, packed a backpack with clothes, and went to his garage and saw Sotiropoulos was still waiting outside. He told police he said to one of his neighbours: "This is going to sound really stupid, I'm going to jump in your car and lay on the floor. There's a guy outside who thinks I've slept with his wife."

The man drove MacGill two blocks to Chargrill Charlie's chicken shop.

But when MacGill returned to his apartment block about 7.30pm, he found Sotiropoulos standing on the street.

According to MacGill, Sotiropoulos said: "The big guys are here to see you."

MacGill said he walked down the road and Big Guy, who the spin bowler estimated weighed between 140kg and 150kg, got out of a blue sedan and allegedly said: "Get in the car."

MacGill said he immediately shot back: "I'm not getting in the car."

It is alleged Big Guy said: "I don't want to hurt you, we know you had nothing to do with it, we just want to talk to you. Get in the car."

When MacGill refused again, Big Guy allegedly said: "Don't make this difficult" before placing his hand on his waist. The move made the cricketer think Big Guy was armed with a gun.

MacGill told police he was scared and got in the back seat of the car and Big Guy sat next to him.

MacGill told police he feared for his life.
MacGill told police he feared for his life.

The spin bowler told police Big Guy was so big "he didn't really fit in the car" and covered so much of the back seat that his leg was pressed up against the cricketer's for much of the journey.

According to MacGill, Big Guy asked about Sonny's location, before adding: "We got a problem because they were mine" and "I was told you can get $90,000".

Originally thinking they would drive him around the block, MacGill told police he began to worry when they crossed the Harbour Bridge and drove towards Leppington.

They turned off a main road onto a dark street and MacGill told police: "I started to shake. I knew there would be no cameras and no one would see me."

There was no talking for about an hour and MacGill told police his fears went into overdrive.

"They picked up one guy who had a black balaclava on," MacGill told police. "He was carrying a plastic bag … At that point I thought they had picked up the guy that was going to kill me."

When they finally arrived at the farm on Jersey Rd, MacGill said the men made him wait in the car for 10 minutes before he was taken into the shed.

After allegedly being stripped, slapped and interrogated, Big Guy told MacGill: "OK, well I believe you but now you're gunna have to get slapped a bit more before we let you go."

Police will allege MacGill was punched about eight times to his face and the back of his head. MacGill told police he kept falling into the wall, still naked.

Balaclava Man allegedly said: "Get away from the f....ing wall"."

MacGill was eventually ordered to put his clothes back on and head back to the car.

"I kept falling down from being hit," MacGill told police. "The guy in the balaclava kept yelling at me to keep walking."

MacGill was driven to Bankstown train station and caught a cab back to his apartment at about 11pm.

He stopped at an ATM and withdrew $100 of the $103 he had in his account to pay the fare, he told police.

Before getting in the cab, it is alleged Big Guy said: Tomorrow, somebody's going to come and give you a phone, don't leave home."

The next day, MacGill told police he packed a bag and hid in the boot of Ms O'Meagher's car.

They drove to Bronte and MacGill got out of the boot only when they were convinced they weren't being followed.

MacGill checked into the first of a series of hotels, and went to police on April 20.

 

POLICE ATTEMPT UNDERCOVER STING

Three days after MacGill reported his alleged kidnapping, police launched an undercover operation that resulted in an attempted sting.

Police will allege that on April 23, a police witness posed as an agent for MacGill and called 46-year-old Marino Sotiropoulos requesting a meeting.

The operative sent messages to a phone allegedly used by Sotiropoulos discussing the drug transaction with Sonny and the events that followed when it went wrong.

A friend told police MacGill once said to him: ‘I introduce people, that’s what I do.’
A friend told police MacGill once said to him: ‘I introduce people, that’s what I do.’

Police will allege that at least one of the texts allegedly showed that Sotiropoulos was under pressure from unknown parties to find Sonny or recover the money from MacGill.

Four days later, police will allege in court, the operative told Sotiropoulos he was close to obtaining Sonny's location, which would be exchanged for the clearing of MacGill's $150,000 debt.

On April 29, the operative allegedly told Sotiropoulos that Sonny was at the Galaxy Hotel in West Gosford.

Police will allege that Sotiropoulos expressed concern to the operative that Sonny may be "tooled up".

Sotiropoulos allegedly drove to the hotel and past the room but he drove away without going inside.

 

MACGILL: 'I INTRODUCE PEOPLE, THAT'S WHAT I DO'

MacGill was a man who was generous enough to use his star power to bring business people together. But when it came to his girlfriend's brother, Marino Sotiropoulos, and a man named "Sonny", police will allege in court it went terribly wrong.

But how did it come together?

Test cricketer MacGill in action against South Africa in 2006. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Test cricketer MacGill in action against South Africa in 2006. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

MacGill told police he was not friendly with Sotiropoulos and had banned him from Aristotles.

"I kicked him out about three years ago as he would talk about how hard he was, pumping his chest ..." MacGill told police.

In the past six months, MacGill had been trying to smooth things over for the sake of the family.

Sonny, who is also known as Zack, was a patron of the restaurant who had become friends with MacGill.

MacGill told police Sotiropoulos and Sonny wanted to meet each other. " … to be honest I don't know how they knew of each other, but they wanted to meet so I arranged for them to meet," MacGill told police.

"I thought if I introduced them to each other they would get off my back," MacGill told police. "I thought it was two like-minded people meeting."

The cricketer told police the introduction took place on April 7 outside the restaurant.

"I said 'Marino Sonny, Sonny Marino' and I left," MacGill told police.

"I have no idea what happened after that and to be honest I didn't care. ... I just wanted them both to leave me alone."

A friend of MacGill also spoke to police and said the spin bowler helped him with an introduction to Hunter Valley business people for a business deal.

The friend told police he offered to pay MacGill for the introduction but the cricketer refused and said: "I introduce people, that's what I do."

Originally published as The MacGill allegations: Boltcutters and balaclavas



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