One of several men involved in a violent gunfight that sparked Sydney’s ongoing underworld feud tried to flee the country with tens of thousands of dollars stashed in his shoe.
Steven Fawaz Elmir was one of up to a dozen people involved in the heated and eventually fatal confrontation outside A Team Smash Repairs in Condell Park last April.
His brother-in-law Safwan Charbaji was shot dead during the midday melee between members of his family and the notorious Ahmad crew.
As police worked to piece together who played what role that Saturday afternoon on April 9, Elmir boarded an Emirates business-class flight to Dubai.
The 29-year-old has yet to return but was fined in his absence in the Downing Centre Local Court last month for failing to declare he was taking more than $10,000 cash out of the country.
Alarm bells rang when Elmir presented his passport to border control at Sydney Airport on April 13.
He had been identified as someone potentially present at the fatal shooting days earlier and NSW Police placed a border alert on his name.
The alert was triggered and n Border Force (ABF) officers whisked the Picnic Point man away to search him and his bag.
They found $20,000 cash stashed in one shoe, according to a statement of facts tendered in court.
In his carry-on bags, the officers uncovered $11,950 and a Westpac cheque for $14,002.85.
Quizzed about the cheque, Elmir claimed it came from a stroke of good luck on the pokies at the Revesby Hotel.
His lawyer Leonie Gittani told the court there was no “good reason” as to why her client didn’t declare the money – more than $45,000 in total.
“He left with some urgency,” she said.
Magistrate Susan McIntyre acknowledged that Elmir, who had a criminal record a “mile long”, wasn’t in court.
“Mr Elmir is not here, which is not particularly encouraging but hopefully he will be back at some time to meet his obligations,” she said.
Elmir, who is understood to still be in Dubai, was fined $3500 in his absence.
Elmir, who is the son of fugitive Fawaz Elmir, 48, turned up at A Team Smash Repairs, owned by rival crime figure Walid “Wally” Ahmad, to settle a lucrative dispute last April.
A war of words played out between the two sides before guns were drawn in the middle of Ilma St.
Elmir’s relative, Mr Charbaji, 32, was killed after being shot in the head and chest.
Wally’s younger mate, Abdullah El Masri, was shot in the jaw but survived after weeks spent in a coma.
The shooting, involving multiple guns and players from south-west Sydney’s powerful families, was the beginning of a bloody string of tit-for-tat violence.
During the past 12 months, there have been multiple shootings, including four deaths, potentially linked to animosities between a handful of well-known crime figures.
Elmir was one of many people who fled in the days following the Condell Park shootout.
Among them was Elmir’s father, Fawaz, who has a warrant out for his arrest.
Police initially suspected he might have been hiding out in Melbourne.
Wally’s brother, Mahmoud “Brownie” Ahmad, boarded a flight for Lebanon last April, returning only this month.
As soon as he touched down in Sydney, he was arrested and charged with murder.
Four days after his brother-in-law was shot dead, Elmir left Sydney for Dubai, which police say is becoming the holiday destination of choice for many n underworld figures.