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‘Balenciaga bikie’ learns his fate

Tarek Zahed (with sunglasses) was on Friday sentenced in the NSW Supreme Court. Picture Instagram
Tarek Zahed (with sunglasses) was on Friday sentenced in the NSW Supreme Court. Picture Instagram

Former bikie kingpin Tarek Zahed will be eligible for release as early as December over his role in the botched attempted destruction of evidence relating to the gangland killing of Youssef Assoum.

Just over 18 months since his dramatic arrest at the hands of heavily-armed police in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Zahed, 43, on Tuesday afternoon learned his fate after expressing his desire to turn his life around.

The former Comanchero national sergeant-at-arms was arrested when officers shot out the windows of his car with bean bag rounds in Edgecliff, in August 2022.

Zahed, once dubbed the “Balenciaga bikie”, was charged with murder and kidnapping, with police at the time alleging he was responsible for the 2014 murder of Youssef Assoum, 29.

But in a late twist on the eve of Zahed’s trial last month, the murder charges were dropped as he and his brother Abdul struck a plea deal.

Tarek pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of hindering the discovery of evidence relating to the cleaning and ordering the destruction of a Mr Assoum’s car.

Abdul Zahed pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder.

Former Comanchero boss Tarek Zahed was once known as the “Balenciaga bikie”. Picture: Supplied.
Former Comanchero boss Tarek Zahed was once known as the “Balenciaga bikie”. Picture: Supplied.
Youssef Assoum
Youssef Assoum died in the attack in December, 2014. Picture: Facebook

Zahed admitted cleaning the car in which Assoum was killed and directing it to be destroyed at a wrecking yard.

The court heard that in December 2014, Mr Assoum was violently assaulted inside his Volkswagen Touareg including being shot in his leg.

During the assault, restraints were placed on his ankles and wrists.

The court heard that Zahed in the following days asked another man to destroy the Touareg.

At the time, Zahed knew that Mr Assoum had been killed and suspected his brother Abdul was involved, the statement of agreed facts reveal.

“His motivation for taking these steps was a desire to protect his brother, an emotion that was perhaps understandable but hardly to be praised,” Justice Richard Button said during sentencing remarks on Tuesday afternoon.

On 12 December, 2014, Zahed told a man to remove blood from the seat, floor and dashboard and together they wiped down the car, court documents state.

Zahed then told the man to dispose of the car through a wrecking yard. However, this did not occur.

The other man then paid a friend to get rid of the car by “blowing it up”.

It was driven to Georges Hall in southwestern Sydney where it was set alight before the blaze was extinguished by firefighters.

Zahed’s fingerprints were found on the vehicle along with a bullet which had traces of blood which were DNA-matched to Mr Assoum.

While the plan was botched, Justice Button described Zahed as playing a “leading role” and “organising mind” in hindering the police probe.

Justice Button said it couldn’t be said with certainty that Mr Assoum’s killers would have been caught had Zahed not ordered the car be cleaned and destroyed.

“The persons, or persons, who committed the homicide have never been brought to justice,” Justice Button said.

“It’s impossible to say but for the actions undertaken and directed by the offender that the killer or killers would have been detected and punished.

“Even so, the actions and orders of the offender played some role in making the police investigation more difficult.”

Tarek Zahed was arrested in dramatic circumstances in August 2022. Picture: NSW Police
Tarek Zahed was arrested in dramatic circumstances in August 2022. Picture: NSW Police

Mr Zahed’s arrest came only months after he sensationally survived an assassination attempt that killed his other brother Omar.

In May 2022, Zahed was shot 10 times outside an Auburn gym in western Sydney.

Omar, 39, died after he was shot several times in the arms, stomach and legs, while Zahed was taken to Westmead Hospital in a critical condition.

He survived the attack but suffered significant injuries including losing an eye.

Mr Zahed watched proceedings via videolink from Goulburn prison on Tuesday afternoon, with the evidence of his injuries clearly visible.

The court previously heard Zahed had only had limited vision in his remaining eye due to cataracts, and could not read or watch television.

Zahed had been kept in solitary confinement since his arrest and the only thing he had to occupy his time was a CD player.

“The submission (from Zahed’s defence counsel) was that I could have some confidence that Mr Tarek Zahed will put his previous life behind him and start afresh free of violence, other criminality and free of any thoughts of revenge for what was done to his late brother and himself,” Justice Button said.

“I agree that positive outcome is one possibility. But other much more negative futures can be brought to mind as possibilities as well.

“My ultimate thought on this topic is that one can hope for change but one cannot be satisfied that it will occur.”

Zahed was sentenced to three years and six months in prison, with a two-year and four-month non-parole period.

With time served, Zahed will be eligible for release on December 27, 2024.