Policeman paid to collect debts, IBAC told

·2-min read

A Melbourne debt collector has admitted to paying a veteran police officer to help recover money, during an anti-corruption hearing.

Basilios (Bill) Meletsis, 54, blamed "sleeping pills" and "amnesia" after initially denying he paid Detective Sergeant Wayne Dean to assist in recovering debts over a four-year period.

During the public hearing held by Victoria's Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission on Wednesday, Mr Meletsis was grilled about his association with Sergeant Dean, who also has ties to underworld figure Mick Gatto.

Counsel assisting the commission Catherine Boston asked Mr Meletsis whether he wanted to clarify evidence he gave during a private examination back in February, in which he denied ever making payments to Sergeant Dean.

After briefly consulting with his lawyer, Mr Meletsis returned to the witness box and backtracked on his statements, citing confusion stemming from memory loss.

"I did say that I didn't give money to Wayne [but] I did give him small amounts and he did help me for certain jobs," Mr Meletsis said.

IBAC is investigating claims that Sergeant Dean, a 37-year police veteran, allegedly used police resources to assist Mr Meletsis in solving private debt disputes from 2018 to February of this year.

Sergeant Dean is alleged to have brought debtors into Melbourne West police station for "mediation" and threatened to press charges if they did not pay up.

The investigation, known as Operation Bredbo, was sparked by a Chinese migration agent, who alleges she paid the pair $11,000 to retrieve debts for her client, which they failed to do.

Mr Meletsis and Sergeant Dean have a long history after first meeting through the Carlton restaurant scene during the mid 1990s.

Last week, Sergeant Dean was grilled by IBAC about his association with Mr Meletsis and Mr Gatto.

IBAC investigators found $18,000 cash in a safe belonging to Sergeant Dean during a raid and $1300 at his workplace, which he has described as personal savings.

The hearing is ongoing.

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