Five-year Ibrahim court fight ends in plea

·1-min read

Sydney identity Fadi Ibrahim has pleaded guilty on the eve of his trial over his involvement in an international tobacco-smuggling syndicate.

The brother of former nightclub owner John Ibrahim was stopped in Dubai in 2017 during a series of co-ordinated arrests across Sydney, Dubai and the Netherlands into two interlinked crime syndicates.

While never accused of importing drugs or tobacco, Ibrahim had allegedly handed another brother $800,000 to fund a tobacco importation deal.

He allegedly expected to double his money.

The other brother - Moustafa 'Michael' Ibrahim - was jailed for 25 years for his role in tobacco smuggling and conspiring to import almost two tonnes of illegal drugs.

Fadi Ibrahim, now 48, was to due to face trial next week but on Wednesday pleaded guilty to dealing with property worth more than $100,000 that was reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime.

He faces prison time, a fine or both.

The exact value of the property is to be determined.

Previous charges of dealing in more than $1 million of crime proceeds and intending to use more than $100,000 as an instrument of crime have been dismissed.

A magistrate in 2017 was told Ibrahim had claimed he simply gave his brother Moustafa a loan but police said he was an "active investor".

Ibrahim spent seven weeks in custody in Dubai and Sydney before raising a $2.2 million bail surety. He also spent three months under house arrest and more time under nightly curfew conditions.

He will face a sentencing hearing on February 23.

He is the last of the 19 Australians arrested over Operation Veyda to still be before the courts.

Federal police say the operation stopped more than 1.9 tonnes of narcotics reaching Australian streets.