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For years the secretive property developing brothers Andy and Joe Nahas have used the heavy hand of their lawyers to carefully control the family’s image.
Little did they know that their February hiring of star recruit John Barilaro would subject them to unwelcome scrutiny.
Rapper Ay Huncho, real name Ali Younes, with Andy Nahas.Credit:Rolling Stone
“Never in a million years did we expect that hiring a duly elected former deputy premier and leader of the National Party would have led to the kind of fall out that has occurred in recent weeks,” Joe Nahas told the Herald as the political fallout from Barilaro’s appointment to a New York role imploded.
Not long into Barilaro’s short stint as executive director of Coronation Property, the former deputy premier was quietly sounding out industry figures about the background of his employers.
One building sector source, who had his own concerns with Coronation, suggested that, as Barilaro was a grown-up, he ought to be able to figure it out himself. For Coronation’s part, Joe Nahas said the job was not advertised and that he only met Barilaro in the selection process.
The Herald can reveal the extraordinary lengths the Nahas family has gone to maintain their reputation as highly successful property developers with $6 billion dollars of residential apartments in the pipeline.
Over the past few years, lawyers for Andy, 34, and Joe Nahas, 41, have fired off missives to media organisations demanding the removal of photos and stories portraying a less-flattering side of the family.
For a brief period last year, there was a photo online that Andy Nahas wanted gone. It shows Andy Nahas with the arm of an alleged member of the Alameddine crime family draped over his shoulder.
Like other unfortunate references which risked damaging the Nahas family’s image, the photo soon disappeared. While Andy Nahas didn’t respond to questions, his brother Joe told the Herald: “A recent photograph of him with a Sydney rapper in no way substantiates claims being made against him.”
Another photo that also quickly disappeared was one of the controversial Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun and Coronation’s newly-appointed executive Barilaro. Mannoun, who is an enthusiastic spruiker of Coronation’s developments in his area, removed the photo from his Facebook shortly after posting it on 1 March.
This photo was up for just one day on Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun’s Facebook page. It shows the newly appointed Coronation executive director John Barilaro, with Liverpool Council CEO Peter Diplas (centre) and Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun (right).
The mayor said he took the photo down because the CEO was only in an acting role and didn’t like photos of himself on social media.
Among those firing off take-down letters to the media on behalf of the Nahas family has been prominent lawyer John Landerer, 74, who also happens to be Joe Nahas’ business partner in Coronation Property.
Landerer represented the Nahases in a Federal Court stoush to take down a Channel 9 story about an ugly family dispute that the two brothers on one side had with their other brother Fadie.
When Andy Nahas was convicted of assault in 2016, Landerer supplied a glowing character reference, to be considered by the court in determining an appropriate sentence. He wrote: “Mr Nahas is a man of honesty and integrity and proud of his family’s high standing in the community.”
Last year, another of the Nahas’ legal team asked media outlets to remove articles or references to Andy Nahas’ kidnapping charges, on the grounds that the case had been dropped and that the removal of the original articles was necessary for the safety of Andy and his wife Carly.
In May 2009, Andy Nahas was arrested after the victim of a kidnapping and bashing made a statement to police. In his statement, the plumber and former bouncer at the Pink Pepper Lounge detailed how Andy Nahas had lured him to a meeting where he was kidnapped by others.
In response to questions, Landerer told the Herald that he had no knowledge of the now withdrawn kidnapping charges when he wrote the character reference. He added that as a result of the Herald’s questions, he said “I have just learned that Andy Nahas has known various members of the Alameddine family because they have grown up in the same neighbourhood in Merrylands”.
Landerer added that Andy Nahas has had “no dealings with any member of the family and has only had a limited social interaction”.
Joe Nahas said: “I doubt any Lebanese person in Merrylands doesn’t know, or know of, at least one Alameddine. Living in close proximity, of course we have had social interaction with members of the Alameddine family. Nevertheless, we do not have any association with them.”
Two of Andy Nahas’ co-accused were high-ranking members of the Bandidos who bashed the man and threatened to cut off his toes and send them to his mother unless he paid $50,000. The two men are currently facing unrelated murder charges.
Court documents reveal that three weeks after the incident, the victim sent text messages to Andy Nahas which read: “I was full fukd in hospital on morphine and I had three detectives screaming at me bro I gave em the biggest blow ass story man Im sory that they busted your balls … I just told them I got them I got bashed and robbed bro I didn’t mean to put you in.”
The following year the case was dropped. A detective from the Gangs Squad told Liverpool Court that not only could the victim not be found but that he had told associates he would rather be charged and sent to jail himself than give evidence.
While the Herald updated the stories to note the outcome of the case it declined to remove the kidnap stories. Lawyers acting for Andy Nahas had a better outcome when his photo was removed from an online article in Rolling Stone magazine about rapper Ay Huncho, 25, an alleged high-ranking member of the notorious Alameddine crime family.
Joseph Vokai.Credit:NSW Police
The photo showed Andy posing with the rapper, whose real name is Ali Younes. Other images taken during that same August 2021 photo shoot for a story about Younes in Rolling Stone, which have been sighted by the Herald, show Andy Nahas posing with Ay Huncho’s crew.
Four months later, on 23 December, NSW Police issued an appeal to locate three of the men who were in those photos.
They included Joseph “Jo Fresh” Vokai who has since been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, knowingly directing the activities of a criminal group, contributing to criminal activity and dealing with proceeds of crime.
John Ray Bayssari, 31, has since been charged with drug supply, dealing with the proceeds of crime, and participating in a criminal group and contributing to criminal activity.
John Bayssari.Credit:NSW Police
The third person the police referred to, who was also in the photo shoot with Ay Huncho and Nahas, was Masood Zakaria, 27, who is now on the nation’s most wanted list.
Married to Ezzat Alameddine, Zakaria fled the country and is facing arrest on allegations of commercial drug supply, dealing with the proceeds of crime and participating in a criminal group and conspiracy to murder rival gang member Ibrahem Hamze.
The heavily tattooed Zakaria has his sister’s name “Hanna” tattooed on his leg. In November 2013, then 13-year old Hanna was seriously injured when she was shot a number of times in a targeted attack intended for her brother Masood, a member of the Brothers 4 Life gang.
Rapper Younes is currently on bail for charges of affray, recklessly causing grievous bodily harm in company and assault with intent to participate in the activity of a criminal group.
Masood Zakaria.Credit:NSW Police
Younes and Zakaria have previously been banned from associating with Rafat Alameddine, the reputed head of the crime family. The Alameddine family for years has been waging tit-for-tat executions with the rival Hamzy clan.
Also featuring in the Rolling Stone photoshoot was Andy Nahas’ good friend Stephen Bou-Abbse, a waterproofer from Merrylands who has worked on Coronation sites.
Bou-Abbse, 33, a former business partner of Bayssari’s, has had a remarkable change of fortune in recent years. In 2020, Bou-Abbse put his haulage company into administration over a $250,000 debt to the tax office. The company’s administrator noted that there was little point pursuing Bou-Abbse as he owned no assets or real estate.
In January 2021, a week after Bou-Abbse’s deed of company arrangement finished, with the tax office receiving only 10 per cent of the amount owed, Bou-Abbse’s wife Harmony, 29, along with his good friend Patrick Merhi, a plasterer who has also done contracting for the Nahas, splashed out $5.1 million for a knockdown house in Vaucluse.
The two couples are currently constructing two four-bedroom houses each with a swimming pool on the Old South Head Road site.
Merhi, 40, has been renting a six-bedroom house for $4800 per week as the development goes ahead while the Bou-Abbses are paying weekly rent of $3500 to live in the same luxury city apartment block as Andy Nahas.
Meanwhile, Andy Nahas and his wife Carly Sahyoun, recently sold their five-bedroom Bellevue Hill mansion for $21.5 million, almost doubling their money in two years. Andy Nahas is currently asking for more than $5 million for a city apartment he owns in King Street.
Joe Nahas has had a remarkable recovery from financial misfortune. In December 2012, three construction companies of which he had been a director went into administration, owing millions of dollars to sub-contractors.
At that time Joe Nahas, who is also known as Youssef Nahas, listed himself as “unemployed” on his personal insolvency agreement (PIA). This allows a debtor to come to an agreement with creditors to settle debts without becoming bankrupt.
Property developer Joe Nahas.
In his LinkedIn profile, Joe Nahas says he has been the managing director of Coronation Property since 2011. However, corporate records show that Coronation was established in May 2013 by Landerer and that Joe Nahas didn’t become a director and shareholder until the following year when he was out of his PIA.
In 2015, only a year after he’d finalised his obligations to creditors, his wife Danielle Elkorr snapped up a prime waterfront Darling Point site for $11.125 million. The couple is spending more than $10 million on a lavish new dwelling on the site.
In October 2017, Elkorr paid $2.7 million for a vacant block on Ocean View Drive, Wamberal, on the Central Coast. Her husband, using a corporate vehicle, snapped up the adjacent beach shack for $2.46 million. Council records show that a number of objections have been received for Coronation Property’s plans for a multimillion-dollar beach house on the two sites.
Landerer, 74, made headlines in February after selling his Vaucluse mansion for $62 million.
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