A falling out between two once close friends on a fishing trip might seem as trivial a motive for murder as could be found in Sydney’s volatile underworld.
But that was one suggested reason behind the execution of former Comanchero boss Mahmoud ‘Mick’ Hawi by ex-Lone Wolf member Yusuf Nazlioglu.
The case against Nazlioglu for murdering Hawi four years ago was ultimately rejected by a jury in 2020 but fate appears to have caught up with the 40-year-old.
Nazlioglu was shot up to ten times at Rhodes in Sydney’s inner-west on Monday night in the city’s latest gangland hit and died on Tuesday morning.
Onetime Lone Wolf bikie Yusuf Nazlioglu (left) was acquitted in September 2020 of murdering his former friend and Comanchero president Mick Hawi (right) in February 2018. Nazlioglu was repeatedly shot in an underground carpark on Monday night and died on Tuesday morning
Nazlioglu was shot up to ten times below the apartment he shared with his wife at Rhodes in Sydney’s inner west near his black Mercedes. He is pictured with his wife
The brazen attack occurred in front of Nazlioglu’s wife in the underground carpark of their apartment block about 6.30pm near the dead man’s black Mercedes. He was hit in the head and torso.
A silver hatchback believed to have taken the assassin to the carpark was set on fire a few streets away from the apartment block.
While police have described the shooting as targeted they have not publicly speculated whether it was linked to any of the 13 other gangster murders across Sydney in the past two years.
But considering Nazlioglu’s links to the cold-blooded daylight assassination of Hawi, detectives might have a head start in their investigations.
A balaclava-clad gunman repeatedly shot Hawi in the head and body after the 37-year-old got into his black Mercedes-Benz SUV outside Fitness First Rockdale in the city’s south on February 15, 2018.
CCTV from a camera across the road from the gym captured the gunman firing at Hawi then running to a waiting vehicle.
Police have described Nazlioglu’s shooting (above) as targeted but have not publicly speculated whether it was linked to any of the 13 other gangland hits across Sydney in the past two years
Nazlioglu’s Mercedes is pictured with a bullet hole in the driver’s window. The gangster died after being repeatedly shot in the head and torso
Six months later Nazlioglu, then 37, was charged with Hawi’s murder, along with his friend and fellow Lone Wolf member Ahmad ‘Adam’ Doudar, 38.
Nazlioglu was accused of being the triggerman and Doudar of disposing of a getaway car.
At the time, Assistant Commissioner Mal Lanyon, head of the State Crime Command, said Hawi’s death was linked to the Sydney construction industry and not a rift between outlaw motorcycle gangs.
‘We will allege that there was a financial motive to Mr Hawi’s murder and his death was to prevent further money being paid to Mr Hawi rather than any outlaw motorcycle gang conflict,’ Assistant Commission Lanyon told reporters.
A third man, 31-year-old Jamal Eljaidi, was charged with murder in March 2019 and accused of being the getaway driver.
Doudar would plead guilty to being an accessory after the fact to Hawi’s murder and was sentenced to a non-parole period of three years and four months in jail.
Beirut-born Hawi, who joined the Comanchero when he was 18, became national president of the gang in 2003 when he was just 22, having deposed ‘supreme commander’ Jock Ross
A balaclava-clad gunman repeatedly shot Hawi in the head and body after the 37-year-old got into his black Mercedes-Benz SUV (above) outside Fitness First Rockdale on February 15, 2018
Beirut-born Hawi, who joined the Comanchero when he was 18, became national president of the gang in 2003 when he was just 22, having deposed ‘supreme commander’ Jock Ross.
Ross had led the Comanchero into the Father’s Day 1984 Milperra Massacre in which four of his men, two Bandidos and a 14-year-old girl were slain.
Under Hawi, the Comanchero further expanded their recruitment to include young men with Middle Eastern, Greek and Serbian backgrounds.
Hawi’s leadership also coincided with growing tensions between the Comanchero and the Hells Angels.
On March 22, 2009, Hawi was on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney with other Comanchero. Hells Angels president Derek Wainohu was also on the plane.
Nazlioglu was accused of being the triggerman who killed Hawi while Jamal Eljaidi (above) was alleged to be the getaway driver. Both were acquitted by a jury of murder
Wainohu, feeling intimidated by the Comanchero’s presence, contacted gang members in Sydney who headed for the airport. Comanchero members followed.
When the two groups met in the domestic terminal, 12 Comanchero confronted five Hells Angels, punching and kicking each other in front of horrified travellers.
Hells Angels associate Anthony Zervas, brother of patched member Peter Zervas, was bludgeoned with a bollard and stabbed in the abdomen and chest. He died in the brawl.
Hawi was eventually charged with the murder of Zervas, found guilty and sentenced to a minimum of 21 years in jail.
After his conviction was overturned on appeal in 2014, Hawi pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. He was released in 2015, which is when he and Nazlioglu became close.
Nazlioglu and Eljaidi stood trial for murder before a Supreme Court jury in a case the Crown admitted was circumstantial and featured no direct evidence either man was responsible for Hawi’s murder.
‘There are eyewitnesses… but no witness will say they saw the accused Mr Nazlioglu shoot the deceased,’ prosecutor Lou Longo said in his opening address.
One of the Crown’s first witnesses was Hawi’s widow Carolina Gonzalez, who said Nazlioglu had once been very close to her late husband.
That friendship had soured during a fishing trip to the NSW Central Coast in the summer of 2016/17, when Hawi called his wife and said the pair had fallen out.
One of the Crown’s first witnesses at Nazlioglu’s trial was Hawi’s widow Carolina Gonzalez, who said Nazlioglu had once been very close to her late husband. Ms Gonzalez is pictured
‘Mike said he had had a disagreement with Yusuf and that he’d asked him to go back to Sydney,’ Ms Gonzalez said.
‘He said, “He did something that embarrassed me with someone”… I said, “OK, I’m sure you’ll get over it”.’
Ms Gonzalez saw Nazlioglu after the fishing trip and tried to speak to him about the dispute with her husband. ‘He was angry… just clenching his fists,’ she said. ‘He didn’t want to talk to me. His eyes were just bulging a little bit.’
Hawi did not get over whatever had happened and months later told his wife the friendship with Nazlioglu was finished and ‘he couldn’t handle his behaviour anymore’.
It was not in dispute at the trial that Hawi and Nazlioglu were no longer friends but the latter’s barrister Avni Djemal said that was not a motive for murder.
The Crown alleged after Nazlioglu shot Hawi through the driver’s side window he had jumped into a grey Mercedes driven by Eljaidi.
CCTV from a camera across the road from Fitness First Rockdale captured a gunman firing at Hawi as he sat in his Mercedes (above) then running to a waiting vehicle
Both men allegedly left the scene then torched the Mercedes and escaped in a silver Toyota Aurion, which was found a month later at Roseberry.
The court heard Nazlioglu and Eljaidi’s genetic profiles were linked to DNA evidence found in the Toyota, where police also found gunshot residue on a balaclava.
Both defendants denied during the month-long trial they were the men seen in CCTV running away from the scene of Hawi’s murder.
Alternative theories were offered for why Hawi was killed, including tensions between him and one of his successors as Comanchero president, Mark Buddle.
Buddle has been living overseas since 2016 – two years before Hawi was murdered – and Hawi’s widow told the court any disagreements the pair had were not ‘bikie related’.
Nazlioglu’s barrister suggested Hawi had been extorting $500,000 from a property developer, which Ms Gonzalez also denied. Instead, the property developer had ‘offered’ the money.
The man who shot Hawi and his getaway driver both left the scene in a Mercedes they soon torched (above) and escaped in a Toyota Aurion, which was found a month later at Roseberry
After a week of deliberations the jury found Nazlioglu and Eljaidi not guilty of murder.
The dead bikie’s sister Zeinab Hawi shouted out that the acquitted men were ‘motherf***ers’.
‘F*** you both,’ she screamed. ‘F*** the Crown too, motherf***ing s*** prosecution.’
Following Nazlioglu and Eljaidi’s acquittals Ahmad Doudar’s earlier guilty plea could be reported, along with what Hawi’s widow said in a victim impact statement.
‘A bunch of cowards… decided to play God, and what did you achieve? What satisfaction did you get from doing this?’ Ms Gonzales had asked.
‘There will come a day, Ahmad, when you will stand before the ultimate judge, and you will not be able to make a deal nor plead with anyone to save yourself.
‘You will be held to account for your actions… your punishment will be eternal and divine.’
Justice Robert Hulme relied on an agreed set of facts signed by Doudar – who was not called to give evidence against Nazlioglu or Eljaidi at their trial – when sentencing him for disposing of the getaway car.
After a week of deliberations the jury found Nazlioglu and Eljaidi not guilty. The dead bikie’s sister Zeinab Hawi shouted out that the acquitted men were ‘motherf***ers’. A mourner is pictured holding a picture of Hawi on the day of his funeral
‘Mr Doudar knew that the vehicle was used by Nazlioglu as a getaway car,’ Judge Hulme said, and ‘assisted in the disposal of the car to help Nazlioglu evade justice’.
‘The murder itself was horrifying, it was a dangerous and public execution and Mr Doudar knew this.
‘Mr Doudar was well aware the murder was well planned by his associates… his morality was no better than the principal offenders and others involved.’
Justice Hulme said Doudar shared Nazlioglu ‘arrogant and immoral belief’ that he was entitled to take the life of another man.
‘He knew that his friend Yusuf Nazlioglu was the brazen and brutal executioner,’ he said.
Nazlioglu subsequently pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of possessing a firearm and was jailed for three years. He was released in September last year.
Nazlioglu (above) pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of possessing a firearm and was jailed for three years. He was released in September last year
While in custody at Silverwater’s Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre in 2020, Nazlioglu was secretly recorded talking to another prisoner about his likely fate.
‘I used to hear people outside were going to knock me, yeah?’ he said. ‘I used to still leave my house, brother, knowing that one day someone’s going to sneak up on me and put one in my head.
‘But I still f***ing went to the same hairdresser, went to the same f***ing restaurants, yeah.
‘I still showed my face in front yard and hung out with boys at their porches at their houses, yeah knowing I’m gonna get knocked one day.’
Two years later that day has come in a hail of bullets near another black Mercedes.
HOW THE SYNDEY UNDERWORLD HAS ERUPTED IN GANG VIOLENCE
AUGUST 29, 2020 – Fares Abounader, a Comanchero bikie was shot dead in a drive-by attack as his wife and young child were inside their Panania house.
OCTOBER 4, 2020 – Shaylin Zreika – an associate of the Alameddines – is beaten with a metal bar in a street fight in Strathfield
OCTOBER 18, 2020 – Rafat Alameddine’s former home is shot up in a drive-by shooting
OCTOBER 19, 2020 – Mejid Hamzy is shot dead in Condell Park
JANUARY 30, 2021 – Mustafa Naaman is shot dead in Hurstville in a suspected mistaken identity attack on Ibrahem Hamze
JANUARY 30, 2021 – Mejed Derbas is shot dead in Smithfield
FEBRUARY 15, 2021 – Bilal Hamze’s mother Maha Hamze comes under gunfire again in another drive-by shooting at her home in Auburn
MARCH 12, 2021 – A home linked to the Alameddine family in Guildford is shot up
AUGUST 6, 2021 – Alameddine low-level associate Shady Kanj is shot in Chester Hill and found dead by police in Guildford
AUGUST 14, 2021 – Police foil alleged gangland hit on Ibrahem Hamze when they spot stolen Mercedes in North Sydney
OCTOBER 20, 2021 – Salim and Toufik Hamze are gunned down outside their home in Guildford
NOVEMBER 10, 2021 – Drive-by shooting at Guildford home of Alameddine associate. No-one is hurt
JANUARY 6, 2022 – Brother of Bassam Hamzy, Ghassan Amoun, is shot dead at 35 years of age in a brazen daylight execution as he sat in a BMW outside an apartment building in Western Sydney.
APRIL, 4, 2022 – Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad aka ‘Mr Big’ is gunned down in a hail of bullets – after being warned by police that he had a million-dollar bounty on his head for his role in deadly shooting in Greenacre.
MAY 10, 2022 – Comanchero bikies with links to the Alameddine clan, Tarek Zahed and his brother Omar were shot at while training at a gym in Auburn. Omar died at the seen while Tarek miraculously survived after being shot 10 times including in the face.
MAY 14 – Rami Iskander, 23, was shot in the torso in front of his pregnant wife and two-year-old child at his home on Knox Street at Belmore just before 4am on Saturday. He is the nephew of Brownie Ahmad
MAY 15 – NSW Police launch Strikeforce Erebus to try and tackle the growing problem of gang violence with the Australian Federal Police and intelligence agencies partnering with state cops to stop the bloodshed.
JUNE 28 – Former Lone Wolf bikie Yusuf Nazlioglu dies in hospital a day after he is hit by 10 bullets in a Rhodes underground carpark