Police make arrests in Canada and Sydney after investigation into extortion of Iraqi government official

NSW Police and Canadian law enforcement authorities have dismantled a criminal group alleged to have attempted to extort a member of Iraqi Parliament through a series of attacks on his family’s home in Sydney’s south west.

Strike Force Mulach was established by the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad to investigate multiple violent incidents that occurred at a home at Chester Hill between December 2019 and January this year, which are believed to be targeted.

The incidents include –

  • About 1.15am on Thursday 5 December 2019, four masked people – including one armed with a firearm – forced entry to the home on Campbell Hill Road, Chester Hill, and assaulted the 16-year-old male occupant, by striking him on the head with the firearm. The men stole a sum of cash before fleeing the scene.
  • Just before 12.30am on Monday 10 August 2020, police were called to the same address at Chester Hill, following reports a shot had been fired at the home. Two adults, two teenagers and a child were home at the time, but no one was injured.
  • About 2.40am on Friday 5 February 2021, a brick was used to smash the front window of the Chester Hill home.
  • Just before 2.45am on Sunday 14 February 2021, unknown persons left a threatening note outside the home and lit a fire on the front porch, which damaged the stairs and a small section of the yard.

Throughout this time, the family received various demands for money and threats to their welfare via social media and letters left at their home.

As part of ongoing inquiries, strike force detectives linked the alleged online extortion attempts to an address in Canada before requesting assistance from Canadian authorities.

Following further investigation, two search warrants were executed at Blacktown and Seven Hills about 6am today (Wednesday 24 February 2021), during which investigators seized several electronic devices and items of clothing relevant to the investigation.

Two men – aged 24 and 22 – were arrested at Blacktown and Seven Hills respectively and taken to Blacktown Police Station, where charges are expected to be laid.

In a coordinated operation, two simultaneous search warrants were executed in Edmonton, Canada, by the Edmonton Police Cybercrime Unit about midday local time, where they seized a replica firearm and electronic devices.

A 33-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman were arrested and are now in the custody of local authorities.

Inquiries under Strike Force Mulach are continuing.

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