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NSW: Man denies knowing of police drug plans: PIC

18 Feb 2009 1:23 PM

SYDNEY, Feb 18 AAP - A man who allegedly tipped off two police officers about stashes of illicit drugs that they seized and sold has denied knowing about any such scheme.

Disgraced Liverpool detectives Nasser Battal and an officer codenamed LP1, were suspended without pay from the NSW Police Force on Tuesday for their involvement in extorting money from Sydney tobacconists in 2008.

LP1 told the Police Integrity Commission on Tuesday that he and Battal also staged raids on vehicles carrying drugs in Sydney's southwest on three occasions in late 2008.

LP1 said the pair seized packages of white powder which they passed to a third party - Mick Hijazi - who had tipped them off about the drugs.

Mr Hizaji in turn paid the officers $5,000 each on at least two of those three occasions, the PIC was told.

On Wednesday, Mr Hijazi told the commission he had hired a vehicle that was needed by LP1 and Battal in December 2008.

"The plan involved that some truck would be pulled over by a vehicle set up to appear to be a police car?" David Staehli SC, counsel assisting the commission, asked Mr Hijazi.

Mr Hijazi replied: "I wasn't aware what they needed the car for."

He later admitted to travelling with Battal and LP1 in the car as it went to pull over a truck, but he said he did not intend to receive the contents of the truck.

"I was there to assist if something happened," he said.

Mr Staehli replied: "You were there just to help?"

To which Mr Hijazi said: "I wasn't interested in what they were going to get."

According to Mr Hijazi, the truck never appeared.

Earlier, Mr Hijazi told the hearing LP1 and Battal had expressed an interest in investing in his wheel and tyre business.

He said the three men had travelled together to China on one occasion.

"We went there to meet up with a few wheel and tyre companies there," he said.

Mr Staehli asked if he had also met with tobacco dealers.

"I didn't," he replied.

Asked if Battal and LP1 met with tobacco dealers in China, Mr Hijazi replied: "They might have, I don't know."

The hearing continues.