The Labor party will expel Victorian ALP delegate Michael Teti after revelations the Moreland Councillor allegedly supplied a gun to a Mafia henchman who then used it to threaten a woman, and moved funds on behalf of convicted crime boss Frank Madafferi.
Mr Teti, who was recently found guilty of weapons offences, secretly spent months working as Madafferi’s business manager in the full knowledge that Madafferi was an underworld boss with a lengthy criminal record for violent crimes and drugs.
Mr Teti’s vehicle has also been searched multiple times by police, who have discovered drug paraphernalia — believed to be an ice pipe — and, on two separate occasions, ammunition.
Documents obtained during a major Fairfax Media and Four Corners investigation reveal that Mr Teti acted as an adviser and gofer for Madafferi while the Mafia boss was facing serious drug trafficking charges, for which he was recently jailed.
During this period, Mr Teti also secured one of Frank Madafferi’s associates – who subsequently was charged with criminal offences over a violent bashing – a job in federal Labor Senator Mehmet Tillem’s office. There is no suggestion Mr Tillem, who is no longer a senator, knew that Mr Teti or his now former employee had close ties to Madafferi.
Despite knowledge within the Labor party of Mr Teti’s ties with crime, the ALP invited him in March to the party’s state conference, allowing him to vote on policy and party issues.
The ALP scrambled to expel Mr Teti on Friday after Fairfax Media sent Premier Daniel Andrews a series of questions about Mr Teti’s behaviour.
A spokesman for the Premier said in a statement: “We have been informed that the State Secretary, Noah Carroll, has lodged the necessary documents to seek the expulsion of Mr Teti from the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party.”
The revelations about Mr Teti’s acitivities raise further questions about the Mafia’s infiltration of Australian politics.
Last year, Labor Roads and Ports minister Luke Donnellan accused a number of Liberal backbenchers of having “lips … dripping with blood from criminals” after revelations that Mafia members had organised political fundraisers for the party as recently as 2013.
Last week, Fairfax Media and Four Corners revealed police reports documenting how Mafia figures, including alleged crime bosses closely linked to Frank Madafferi, had infiltrated the Liberal Party as part of efforts to get Madafferi a visa.
Madafferi, whose criminal convictions for extortion, drugs and Mafia activity date back to the 1980s, appointed Mr Teti as his business manager in around 2013.
Confidential documents show that Mr Teti was handling Madafferi’s finances, moving money for his fruit shop businesses, Mondo Fruit, placing advertisements for Madafferi in Italian newspapers and importing foodstuffs for the crime boss from Italy. Madafferi has used his fruit shops as a base for his drug trafficking although there is no suggestion Mr Teti is personally involved in the illegal trade.
The most serious allegations involving Mr Teti relate to a gun he owned, which was allegedly used by a man called Michael Villeva, who also works for Madafferi.
Mr Villeva is suspected of using Mr Teti’s weapon to threaten a woman in Doreen in Melbourne’s north-east.
Mr Teti did not respond to specific questions about his relationship with Madafferi or Mr Villeva. But in a statement denying any wrongdoing, Mr Teti’s lawyer, Stefanie Chillico, said Mr Teti’s ties to Madafferi and Villeva were confined to a “professional relationship he had with them” while Mr Teti worked at a legal firm. Several well-placed sources said Mr Teti’s explanation was false.
Mr Teti controls two local ALP branches in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, and has had the ability with his allies in Labor’s right faction to influence the nomination of political candidates and ALP policy.
The ALP failed to take action against Mr Teti after he was found guilty late last year of weapons offences, including possessing a flick knife and carrying a loaded firearm in public. However, the full extent of Mr Teti’s activities has never been publicly revealed until now.
Fairfax Media can also reveal that Mr Teti has provided his vehicle to another alleged criminal and associate of Frank Madafferi, after which it was searched by police on Lygon street. Police found bullets and paraphernalia for using methylamphetamine inside Mr Teti’s car.
In 2012, local council records reveal that Mr Teti received political donations from Frank Madafferi’s brother, Tony Madafferi. Tony Madafferi was recently banned from Victoria’s Crown Casino by the Victoria Police chief commissioner because of his alleged organised crime ties.
Mr Teti has also been a regular visitor to one of Frank Madafferi’s Melbourne properties.
Federal police Detective Superintendent Matt Warren said Frank Madafferi “has a very high standing within the ‘Ndrangheta [Calabrian Mafia] in Melbourne,” and that any political figure needed to “be very careful in dealings with Francesco Madafferi”.
“It’s a real risk for them to be associated with organised crime figures.”
Mr Teti was found guilty last December of several weapons offences. He told police that the weapons were in his car because he planned to go on a hunting trip, which was later cancelled.
Mr Teti sought to avoid a formal finding of guilt, but Magistrate Michael Wighton found his conduct was “too serious”.
While the magistrate found Mr Teti did not have “criminal intent” when he left the weapons in his car, Mr Wighton said the firearm could have been obtained by others.
Mr Teti received a six-month good behaviour bond, with Mr Wighton saying Teti has “very good character” and his offending should not impede his “ambitions in public service”.