Tobacco smuggling accused wants bail

Jodie Stephens

A Sydney man who with Michael Ibrahim is alleged to be a central figure in a multi-million dollar tobacco smuggling operation has made another bid for bail within hours of welcoming a baby daughter.

Fares Derbas was one of several people charged in Australia and Dubai earlier this month following a series of raids targeting alleged organised crime syndicates.

Prosecutors opposed the 30-year-old's bail application on Thursday, saying his charges were serious and the strength of the case against him meant he was a flight risk.

The Crown alleges Derbas played a central role in the operation, which included the illegal importation of hundreds of thousands of packets of cigarettes worth more than $1 million.

It's alleged he and others twice exchanged boxes of cash for a truck containing tens of thousands of packages of the contraband in 2016.

On a third occasion in March this year he had a less direct role, travelling in a convoy with the truck.

Prosecutors say another man who participated in the first transaction was expected to be charged "imminently".

It's alleged Derbas later oversaw the Sydney distribution of 900,000 packets of cigarettes worth $1.8 million, while Ibrahim was overseas.

Derbas is charged with three counts of dealing with money as an instrument of crime, two counts of dealing with proceeds of crime and one of importing tobacco with the intention to defraud revenue.

The Crown alleges extensive surveillance places Derbas in close association with a criminal group with access to large amounts of money.

But defence barrister John Korn said his client had no criminal record and his strong family bonds and ties to Australia made it difficult to advance the proposition he could flee.

Mr Korn said Derbas' wife had given birth to a daughter that morning and the closeness of his family was "at the highest level the court is likely to have seen".

Derbas' supporters are willing to offer three homes as a surety if he is granted bail and he and his wife will surrender their passports among other measures, Mr Korn said.

The bail hearing is scheduled to continue before NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum on Monday.