A woman who once operated the pseudoephedrine division of one of the world's leading chemical companies has been linked to a Melbourne bikie-gang extortion racket.
Maria Micelotta, 51, is accused of recruiting Comanchero members to collect debts on her behalf, which allegedly saw them tape bullets to the front door of the home of the debtors.
Micelotta, of Templestowe, denies all the allegations, defence barrister Kristie Churchill told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.
The court heard Micelotta has worked at BASF chemical company for 14 years, and was previously the manager of the company's pseudoephedrine division.
Ms Churchill said her client had no idea how the Comanchero members came to approach the debtors on her behalf.
She said Micelotta had "no known links to bikie organisations" and was in fact scared of the Comancheros.
"She is certainly in fear of such an organisation," Ms Churchill said.
Following her arrest and a police search of her home, Micelotta is "in fear of who's coming next", Ms Churchill told the court.
"Her physical safety is potentially at risk," Ms Churchill said.
The court heard the police case against Micelotta is based on conversations between the Comancheros and the debtors and a comment made by one of the Comancheros to police after his arrest.
Police seized computers and documents from their search of Micelotta's home but they have yet to be analysed.
Micelotta is charged with two counts of making demands for money with a threat to inflict injury and two counts of making demands for money with menace.
Five Comanchero members have also been arrested over what police allege to be a collection syndicate operated through standover tactics.
One member, 37-year-old Hallam man Tangianau Maratai, was released on bail last week, while the other four have been remanded in custody.
Micelotta appeared in court in a bid to have her bail varied so she can travel abroad as part of her work with BASF.
Magistrate Felicity Broughton rejected an application to have Micelotta's name and occupation suppressed.She will next appear in court in January.