June 17, 2014
“I am an innocent man”: National president of bikie gang the Rebels, Alex Vella. Photo: Janie Barrett
The national president of Australia’s largest bikie gang, the Rebels, has protested his innocence and says he has been unfairly targeted after his visa was cancelled while on holidays in his native Malta.
The Immigration Minister Scott Morrison moved last Friday to cancel the visa of Alex Vella, 60, preventing his return to Australia and to his outlaw motorcycle club.
Speaking from Europe, Mr Vella said he was enjoying a holiday with his son, Alex Jnr, when he discovered the government had cancelled his visa under “the character provisions of the Migration Act.”
“I am an innocent man,” Mr Vella told Fairfax Media.
“I’ve just finished settling a tax case after nine months for $1.2 million. I’ve travelled overseas to visit family and friends and whilst I’ve left the country with a valid visa they have shut and locked the door behind me.”
A citizen of Malta, and dubbed the Maltese Falcon, Mr Vella has lived in Australia for more than four decades but has never applied for citizenship.
His wife and two sons are Australian citizens.
This is not the first time steps have been taken to stop the Rebels boss from re-entering Australia.
He encountered problems in 2007 after flying to Tokyo to watch his middleweight boxer son, Adam Vella.
While in Japan NSW police reportedly prepared a case for the Immigration Department to refuse the multi-millionaire a new visa to return to Australia. He was eventually allowed return.
“What is the reason? What have I done to deserve what they have been doing to me for so many years?,” Mr Vella said on Monday night.
“Everyone has a hobby in life and mine is riding motorcycles.
“We are not a criminal organisation despite what the police continue to say about us. We are simply easy targets.”
Police disagree, and in 2012 established a national taskforce to target the Rebels, its 70 chapters and more than 2,000 members Australia-wide.
Mr Vella was due in court last month as police sought to shut down the Rebels clubhouse on his property at Leppington in Sydney’s south-west.
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