John Ibrahim and his family’s luxurious lifestyle
A HIGH-PROFILE drug bust has shone a spotlight on the lavish lifestyle of Kings Cross night-life identity John Ibrahim and his family.
The tale of the Ibrahims collectively has it all: Lavish spending, mansions, glamorous model girlfriends, guns, drugs, celebrity and prominent underworld figure connections.
So much so that the family patriarch and former nightclub boss John Ibrahim was immortalised in television series Underbelly: The Golden Mile. But the story didn’t end when the credits rolled, and the real life clincher appears to have been saved for coming days.
Mr Ibrahim’s luxurious residence in Dover Heights, one of Sydney’s most exclusive suburbs, was this week ransacked by police as part of the operation targeting organised crime and a high profile drug smuggling syndicate.
A total of 17 people were arrested as part of the sting: nine men and one woman in Sydney, five people in Dubai and two people in The Netherlands.
John Ibrahim is not under suspicion but his brothers Fadi and Michael Ibrahim, model girlfriend Sarah Budge, and Daniel Taylor, 26, have been charged following the trans-international bust. A cousin of the Ibrahims, Sleiman Tajjour, the former national president of the Nomads bikie gang, was also charged following the raids.
Fadi, often described as the most reserved and private of his five high-profile siblings, and his glamorous wife Shayda were infamously shot in an attempted gangland hit at their luxury Castle Cove mansion eight years ago.
“The people we allege are part of this syndicate that are well-known to law enforcement. For decades this group has flaunted their wealth and activities, telling the community they were untouchable,” Mr Gaughan, the national AFP manager for organised crime said.
“Today, it should be obvious that they are not.”
Mr Gaughan said it was an “outstanding success” that so many members of the Ibrahim family had been arrested and heralded it as a “great day for law enforcement”.
The arrests came after more than 570 AFP officers took part in Tuesday’s dawn raids across Sydney, seizing $5.45 million that police allege was the proceeds of crime. The drugs they seized had an estimated street value of $810 million, police said.
Mr Ibrahim’s 27-year-old model girlfriend Sarah Budge, who owns Crane Bar in Potts Point, posted a glamorous photo from a modelling shoot on Instagram just days before her Tuesday arrest.
Scoop Management declined to comment on their client.
Ms Budge, a well-known identity on the Sydney night scene, was first spotted with Mr Ibrahim in 2015 when they partied in Ibiza with Kyle Sandilands, The Daily Telegraph reported.
In the photographs Ms Budge appeared unsteady on her feet with Ibrahim keeping a tight grip on her.
At the time sources said the couple had been together for about a year.
Ms Budge was arrested in Double Bay over firearms and ammunition offences following police raids across Sydney yesterday.
Police allege she was found in possession of a Glock 26 loaded handgun.
She was later charged with one count of possess firearm not authorised to do so by licence or permit contrary to section 7A (1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW). The maximum penalty for the offence is five years imprisonment.
Ms Budge was today granted bail after appearing via audiovisual link at Central Local Court in relation to the subsequent charges.
The commonwealth prosecutor did not oppose bail, which was granted with strict bail conditions by Magistrate Clare Farnan.
She must surrender her passport, not leave NSW or go within 500 metres of an international point of departure, report to police three times a week and hand over a $50,000 security.
Daniel Taylor was this week charged with conspiracy to import drugs and dealing in the proceeds of crime over his alleged role in transferring $2.25 million for the purchase of tobacco. He was today granted bail after appearing via audiovisual link at Central Local Court today. His family will pay a $630,000 security deposit.
Another man, 24-year-old Mohammad Jeda, faced the same court via AVL charged with supplying almost 6kg of methamphetamine at Merrylands in March. He did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.
Ms Budge, Mr Taylor and Mr Jeda are due to return to court on November 1.
The Ibrahims’ connection to Kings Cross figures extends beyond members of their own blood line.
Georgina Freeman, widow of underworld figure and racing identity George Freeman, dubbed “the undisputed Queen of the Cross”, once revealed she had a crush on Mr Ibrahim.
Mrs Freeman, who has two sons that own Sydney nightclubs, described the man who mentored her boys for a decade as not unlike her late husband.
“I always thought he was gorgeous,” she said in a 2010 interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly.
“ I think John once said to me, ‘I always had a crush on you when I was young’ … John was so good looking. He’s generous like George, he’s funny like George, I guess he’s a playboy like George was.”
She said Mr Ibrahim offered to help her after her husband died and that he become a father figure to her sons Adam and David Freeman.