– A fortune in cash and assets is missing from the estate of Mario Condello, a victim of one of Melbourne’s unsolved gangland murders.
The gangland figure, who did not divulge his assets in his will, is only known to have left behind a $2 million Brighton house, which was sold by his wife.
But Condello’s brother Enzo says no one, including his brother’s widow, Vanda, knows where the money from the sale of four city apartments, a unit for a mistress in Nice, and money stashed in a Swiss bank account has gone.
A family feud has been simmering between Mario Condello’s former wife Vanda and Enzo over the estate as well as over a payout over his murder.
Condello was not only hiding his money in offshore safe havens before his death, but was owed millions.
But Enzo claims he has been told the unexplained wealth of his slain brother has vanished from myriad companies he owned under the alias Michael Oliver.
Mr Condello also has told the Herald Sun the Carlton Crew money man was addicted to prescription diet drug Duromine – which contains amphetamines – in the years before he was gunned down in the driveway of his Brighton home in February 2006.
His death, considered a gangland hit, came the night before he was to go on trial on several charges including conspiracy to commit murder.
Mr Condello says his brother had amassed wealth of more than $5 million, built from protection rackets, money-laundering and loan-sharking.
Among the assets he says he has a claim on are Melbourne Cemetery crypts, money owed to his mother’s estate, and money promised to him.
He claims properties owned by his parents, who are now deceased, were sold by Mario, who failed to pay out his siblings.
Mr Condello was not a beneficiary in his brothers’ will, which did not divulge any of his assets.
Though he said the in-family fighting was ugly, it was inevitable.
Adding to his brother’s paranoia in the year leading up to his being charged with conspiracy to commit murder in 2004, he became addicted to a prescription drug that Mr Condello said affected his judgement.
There are several theories about the slaying of Mario Condello in the driveway of his Brighton home in February 2006.
Police thwarted an earlier plot to kill Condello in June 2004, when Sean Sonnet was arrested carrying loaded guns outside the Brighton Cemetery, near Condello’s home.
The hitman had been sent by Carl Williams.
It is not known who was behind the later, successful hit.
Condello was due to face court the following day on several charges including incitement to commit murder – allegedly putting $150,000 contracts on Carl Williams and his father George.
A court heard in August this year there were a number of potential motives for the killing of Mr Condello and there was no doubt that it was not a random killing.
A senior detective told the hearing there was a powerful rumour abroad at the time that Mr Condello had come to some sort of arrangement to assist the authorities in return for charges against him being dropped”. The rumour, however, was baseless, the hearing was told.
There is no doubting that Condello had serious Calabrian mafia connections in Australia and abroad.
Mr Condello said at the peak of the gangland war, Mario had been in talks with hitman Benji Veniamin to import and distribute drugs, and also thwarted plans to assassinate a high-ranking Victoria Police officer.
He also claimed his brother wanted a Melbourne solicitor run over for providing information to his enemies.
In 2004, Justice Bernard Teague, in a bail hearing, described the crime figure’s income sources as opaque.
The court heard Condello, who carried a firearm, had accrued substantial assets including debts owed to him of more than $3 million.
Justice Teague also commented that it was not clear when the unit in Nice on the Riviera was acquired by the applicant, but it seems that well over €100,000 has been spent on renovating it.
Condello’s former wife Vanda did not return calls from the Herald Sun – Anthony Dowsley